One of my favorite people is someone I have never seen face to face. I have never talked with him, or even know what he looks like. How is that possible? Through the written word...a book.
I am referring to Jerry Bridges who wrote the book "Trusting God Even When Life Hurts". It amazes me how God can use someone who is a perfect stranger to alter your view of Himself....it's an amazing level of influence and a big means of God's grace. This book changed my life about 6 years ago. It is a place I go when I could be or am tempted to believe that God is not in control or good in His plans.
The person, my dear friend Nan, who sent me the book is also a means of grace (hi Nan). It took much faith and love, to send a book like this to someone who had just buried a child. This book came to me in a very dark time in my life and become (eventually) a huge ray of light and peace. I do recall clearly reading the first chapter and being so angered, that I threw it across the room. My (lack of) theology wasn't lining up with a God that would allow my baby to die and then call it good as icing on the cake. My friends timing was perfect and to this day I am so grateful she took the opportunity to send me a book she knew would probably cause me to struggle....but struggle for the good.
I have revisited this book many times over the last 6 years. Our current circumstances with my husbands job and baby on the way have drawn me back to this book once again. Mr. Bridge's book explains the doctrine of God's sovereignty in a way that someone like me can understand. The doctrine of God's sovereignty has brought such peace and rest in how I see what "happens to me" in light of what he has done for me. The title of Chapter 1 is "Can You Trust God?"...great question. This book taking me straight to scripture over and over, helped me find a clear answer to that question. Either God is in control or he isn't. Since He is over all things, then the ability to rest in what comes my way is possible.....even when it hurts or doesn't follow my plan and oh...how many plans I have for myself ;o). Slowly saturating myself in God's sovereignty has been good medicine for my heart and for the many difficult places we have found ourselves. Whether it be babies, houses, jobs or even just a cruddy day. He is present and purposeful for my good in all these things.
I am not saying that God's sovereignty is never painful or even severe. I know I run for the path of least resistance and greatest ease when given the opportunity. Is that for my good? There are things that happen that don't have answers in this life. I will explore this in my next post.
I highly recommend this book. But be warned....if you are new to The Doctrine of God's Sovereignty...you will be offended. But being offended with truth is not a bad thing.
A few quotes I have been savoring over the last few weeks:
"How shall we respond to the fact that God is able to and does in fact move in the minds and hearts of people to accomplish His will? Our first response should be one of trust. Our careers and destinies are in His hands; not the hands of bosses, commanding officers, professors, coaches, and all other people who, humanly speaking, are in a position to affect our futures. No one can harm or jeopardize your future apart from the sovereign will of God. Moreover, God is able to and will grant you favor in the eyes of people who are in a position to do you good. You can entrust your future to God." pg. 70
"Confidence in God's sovereignty in the lives of people should also keep us from becoming resentful and bitter when we are treated unjustly or maliciously by others" p.70
This one is crucial right now because there are accusations about my husband's integrity going on right now with his old job....this one is hard for me...grrrrr.
"God is for us, we are His children, He delights in us (Zephaniah 3:17). And the scripture says, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). We can put this down as a bedrock truth: God will never allow any action against you that is not in accord with His will for you. And His will is always directed to our good." pg. 71