This week a great warrior for the Christian faith died. Jerry Bridges, the author who challenged more than a million readers to take seriously God’s command for holiness, died on Sunday at 86. His best known book was "The Pursuit of Holiness" but to me he will always be remembered for penning the book that radically changed my life and thinking, Trusting God with the subtitle "even when life hurts". My life was really starting to hurt when I first picked up that book in 1997. It was the start of twenty years of agonising pain and frequent hospital admissions. This book, and the issues that it dared to raise, became a real source of strength to me.
Now the book represents a theology that not all will find easy to swallow or follow. But in it, Bridges asked some powerful questions like: "Can you really trust God when adversity strikes and fills your life with pain?" or "Do you have such a relationship with God and such a confidence in Him that you believe He is with you in your adversity even though you do not see any evidence of His presence and His power?".
If you don't love the Bible more than all the philosophies of men: if you don't treasure the things of God more than all the glittering gadgetry of the age in which we live - then don't ever read this book. But, if you do read any of Jerry Bridges' work, you will be impressed with the writings of a man convinced that God is always in control, and that His ways are the best for us despite the limits of our understanding. A very humane and humble man, Jerry Bridges blessed my life and the lives of countless others I'm sure. Now he is entering the eternal reward that waits for all who trust God, even when life hurts.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
I had an amazing experience this week of the power of good news to lift your spirits and give you victory over pain and despair. I was lying on the settee at home around midday on Tuesday when the phone rang. My plan had been to try and get to our doctor’s surgery, or maybe even A & E at the local hospital due to the pain that I was in. The phone call, however, was from our son who lives away from us, to say that he and his wife had just welcomed our new grand-daughter into the world!
You can imagine our joy and enthusiasm for this wonderful gift. We knew, of course, that a baby was coming, but not its gender nor the actual day, but just a tad early the little girl was born and mother and baby are doing well. This good news surged through me like an injection! I did telephone the doctor for advice on the phone about pain control doses etc but my whole condition perked up at the news I heard.
I am still physically unwell and in pain, but the power of good news and the birth of a baby overcame it temporarily at least. And this is the heart of the gospel – the good news of God! His Son was born for our salvation and healing and the great news of his coming should be spread everywhere. Each place it comes and is received by faith, the good news will do its rejuvenating work. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”