One of the most basic human struggles we find both in the Bible and in our Christian lives is the struggle to trust God. Life is hard and full of uncertainty. Moreover, when tragedy does strike, we often cannot discern any good purpose in the terrible event. Our hearts, therefore, are constantly tempted towards worry, anger, and hopelessness as our souls ask, “Can I really trust God?”
That’s the question that Jerry Bridges (late Christian author and leader in The Navigators ministry) seeks to answer in his book, Trusting God. This is a book that I had had commended to me several times before but which I only made time to read recently. I wish I had read this book sooner. Bridges has done truly excellent work in producing a biblical, insightful, and relatable treatment of such a fundamental issue of the Christian life. At 368 pages in Amazon’s paperback version, the book will require an investment of your time. But this is an investment that will pay great dividends, and the pages go quickly. In his summary of biblical teaching about trusting God, Bridges arms the reader to face well the difficulties of life and even rejoice and give thanks to God through them.
Below I’ve included the publisher’s description as well as an excerpt from the book. I hope these will whet your appetite so that you benefit from the gift of Christ to his church that is this book!
Why is it easier to obey God than to trust Him?
Because obeying God makes sense to us. In most cases, 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 the circumstances we find ourselves in often defy explanation. Before long, we begin to doubt God’s concern for us or His control over our lives. We ask, “Why is God allowing this?” or “What have I done wrong?”
During such a time of adversity, Jerry Bridges began a thorough Bible study on the topic of God’s sovereignty. What he learned changed his life, and in Trusting God he shares the fruit of that study. As you explore the scope of God’s power over nations, nature, and even the details of your life, you’ll find yourself trusting Him more completely―even when life hurts.
Excerpt from “Chapter 4: God’s Sovereignty Over People”
Why then do we suffer such disappointment when the hoped for favor that we needed from another person doesn’t materialize? Why do we struggle with resentment and bitterness when someone else’s decision or action adversely affects us? Is it not because it is our plans that have been dashed, or our pride that has been wounded?
I once attended a seminar on the subject of Christians and stress. One of the speaker’s main points was that if we want to live less stressful lives, we must learn to live with a single agenda: God’s agenda. He pointed out that we tend to live under two agendas, ours and God’s, and the tension between them sets up stress.
I think his expression—a single agenda—aptly applies to our discussion of trusting God in the arena of other people’s decisions in our lives. God is sovereign over people. He will move their hearts to cause them to do His will, or He will restrain them from doing anything contrary to His will. But it is His will, His agenda for our lives that God will guard, protect, and advance. We must learn to live by His agenda if we are to trust Him.