In 2016 Jerry Bridges, author of numerous bestselling books, died a few months before the release of his final book, The Blessing of Humility. Now and then over the next several weeks we’ll be posting tributes to Jerry and his books by people whose lives his writing touched.
In January of 1995 Lynn and I received the news we were dreading: our son Ryan had autism. We were devastated and felt completely hopeless and helpless. As we began to pick ourselves up to help Ryan any way we could, God threw us two lifelines: Romans 15:13 and Trusting God by Jerry Bridges.
“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”Romans 15:13, MSG
Through Romans 15:13 the God of hope took us from just “getting by” on enough hope for the day, to overflowing with hope in a way that we could truly help others in the lonely world of autism. It truly became our life verse, as I’ve spoken on it more than any other in over 33 years of ministry.
God took that hopeful, motivational message from Paul and undergirded it with the gentle wisdom of Jerry Bridges in Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts. Jerry focused his attention and ours on the sovereignty and goodness of God that transcends painful circumstances. Yet he was quick to steer clear of easy answers and theological clichés. Patiently, persistently and powerfully, he made his case that we can—and must—trust God.
Just as Romans 15:13 has been our most-used verse, Trusting God has become our most recommended book throughout our years of ministry with The Navigators. From close relatives fighting for their lives to highly talented people dealing with career disappointments, God has allowed us to encourage others through Jerry’s great work.
While Trusting God is certainly our favorite book by Jerry Bridges, we have been blessed by every book he wrote. But this dear man was much more than world-renowned author!
In his later years, Jerry and I served together training our Collegiate Ministry staff. I greatly benefitted from his wisdom as we talked about the best ways to equip young leaders. I didn’t view him as the famous author but as a gentle, kind and always available friend. And that’s the way he liked it!