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Book Review: Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges

On today’s blog, we have a book review by Lydia Mokoro. Lydia is a member of Redeemer Bible Church. She has a background in Public Relations and is pursuing a Biblical Counseling course at Biblical Counseling Center. She also enjoys reading books and cooking.

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The topic of God’s Sovereignty has been a struggle for me over the years. I always knew and acknowledged God to be Sovereign but only to some extent. I was always okay with Him reigning in the heavens and the rest of the earth but not my personal life because He might ‘interfere’ with my plans.

By God’s providence, I have come across several resources that discuss this attribute of God in-depth and they have been a blessing. One of them is Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges, which I will do a review on in the next couple of paragraphs. Of all the books I have read by Jerry Bridges, this one is my favourite. I would go back and read it over and over.

In this book, Jerry Bridges helps us through scriptures, get the answers to the natural questions that we ask ourselves when going through adversity. I will select a few of the topics that stood out for me.

Can You Trust God?

It is easier for us to obey God than trust Him because obeying God makes sense to us. His laws appear reasonable and wise, and even when we don’t want to obey them, we usually concede that they are good for us. But when adversity strikes, the question arises, “Where is God in all of these?” We all go through adversity in various forms and at different times.

Jerry Bridges says, “Can you really trust God when adversity strikes and fills your life with pain? Does He indeed come to the rescue of those who seek Him? Does the Lord’s unfailing love surround the person who trusts in Him?  Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God’s revealed will. Trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries. We are always coping with the unknown. Yet it is just as important to trust God as it is to obey Him. When we disobey God, we defy His authority and despise His holiness. But when we fail to trust God we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness.”

Sovereignty, Love and Wisdom of God

In the next few chapters of the book, Jerry Bridges addresses the topics of God’s Sovereignty, love and wisdom. From the scriptures, he illustrates how God is sovereign over His people, the nations, and nature. The question that would normally arise from this is, “If God is sovereign, do we have any role to play in our lives? After all, what will be will be since God has already predetermined past, present and future events.” Isaiah 43:13 “Yes, and from ancient days I am He. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” And truly so, many have fallen into a fatalism that denies human free will. We can and should make decisions. Jerry Bridges reminds us that God’s sovereign control does not mean that we sit idly by and allow life to happen. It means that we can go bravely into life, trusting that our loving Father sees the larger picture and is faithfully working everything for His glory.

About God’s wisdom in adversity, Jerry Bridges says, “God’s infinite wisdom then is displayed in bringing good out of evil, beauty for ashes. It is displayed in turning all the forces of evil that rage against His children into good for them. But the good that He brings about is often different from the good we envision.”

About God’s love in adversity, Jerry Bridges writes, “God’s love to us cannot fail any more than His love to Christ can fail. We must learn to see our adversities in relation to our union with Christ. God does not deal with us as, so to speak, “free-standing” individuals. He does deal with us individually, but as individuals united to Christ.”

Giving Thanks Always

In the last chapter of the book, Jerry Bridges takes us through thanksgiving during adversity. This sure is a difficult thing to do. Paul exhorts us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This means ALL circumstances, whether favourable or unfavourable to our desires, are to be occasions for thanksgiving.

Jerry Bridges says, “Thanksgiving is not a natural virtue; it is a fruit of the Spirit, given by Him. The unbeliever is not inclined to give thanks. He may welcome circumstances that are in accord with his wishes and complain about those that are not, but it never occurs to him in either case to give thanks. If he sees his life as anything beyond chance, he may congratulate himself on his successes and blame others for his failures but he never sees the hand of God in his life. Thanksgiving is an admission of dependence. Everything we are and have we owe to His bountiful grace. ‘For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive (1 Corinthians 4:7)?’

I would encourage everyone to take up this book and read it. There are copies available at the discipleship library.

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