Cultivating Thankfulness

thankfulness

When reading Trusting God on my flight to England this week, something Jerry Bridges wrote caught my attention:

Because God is sovereign, wise, and good, we can trust Him…. Paul said to “give thanks in all circumstances.” [1 Thes. 5:18] We are to be thankful in bad times and good times, for adversities as well as for blessings. All circumstances, whether favorable or unfavorable to our desires are to be occasions for thanksgiving.

Trusting God, pp. 221

Bridges goes on to remind readers that our problem with not cultivating an attitude of thankfulness is not tied to forgetfulness, it’s tied to our sinful nature. And therefore, we must recognize God’s sovereignty, wisdom and love as they work themselves out  through all the unexpected twists and turns of our lives. “It is,” Bridges writes, “the firm belief that God is at work in all things—all our circumstances—for our good” (p. 223).

To derive the fullest comfort and encouragement from Romans 8:28[“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”]…we must realize that God is at work in a preactive, not reactive fashion. That is, God does not just respond to an adversity in our lives to make the best of a bad situation. He knows before He initiates or permits the adversity exactly how He will use if for our good. God knew exactly what He was doing before he allowed Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery. Joseph recognized this when he said to his brothers, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God….You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 45:8, 50:20).

Trusting God, p. 223 (emphasis mine)

Did you catch that?

God doesn’t just use our bad circumstances for good—He intends them. [Read more…]

Book Review: Trusting God

Trusting-GodTitle: Trusting God
Author: Jerry Bridges
Publisher: NavPress

Can I trust God?

This question plagues many of us, particularly in times of great difficulty. When it seems like our world is falling apart, it often feels impossible to believe that an all-powerful and all-good God is in control. But just because we can’t see Him at work, doesn’t mean He’s not.

This is what motivated Jerry Bridges to write Trusting God. What Bridges reminds us of in this very dense text is that God is completely sovereign—over circumstances, nations, nature, and even people—infinitely wise, and supremely loving. And because these things are true, we can trust Him fully as He works out all things for our good through His providence. More than that, it’s only because He is sovereign that we can trust Him at all! Because none can frustrate His plans, they will surely come to pass. And were His plans able to be thwarted, He would not be trustworthy at all, and we would have no reason to hope.

This is very good news for all of us, as it greatly encourages us to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and a desire to look for where He is working, in all our circumstances—both good and bad.

One note for readers: Sometimes Bridges’ writing… drags. I’ve experienced this with every book of his I’ve read to date. The content is wonderful, but I find myself having to (usually) read in fits and starts. This is may actually be a blessing in disguise, as it gives me time to reflect on what I’ve read, so maybe it’s not a bad thing.

Trusting God is without question a book that is extremely beneficial for all looking to better understand how God’s providential rule over creation, and how that affects our lives. Read slowly and savor.

Purchase your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.ca