Bridges, Jerry, God Took Me by The Hand: A Story of God's Providence (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2014)
Teaching God's sovereignty while telling an autobiographical story is not something I had considered, till reading this book.
Bridges weaves his story into a teaching on how God can work in and through a life that purposefully allows Him to move people and things. He shares the most influential parts of his journey with candor and humility. From the end of World War II to his heart surgery in 2012, he shares how God plotted an unlikely path toward becoming one of the most influential authors in modern Christianity. Of course that statement may be up for debate, but I do not know many people who have not at least heard of The Pursuit of Holiness. His life moves in concert with the development an expansion of the ministry of the Navigators.
He shares how he has been lead by the Holy Spirit through many decisions and troubles. He stops his story to unpack theological content and discuss how the episodes impacted him. In many ways this book combines theology, autobiography, and reflective discussion into one place. Bridges does not consider his story so important that he must include each detail. He, instead, has determined what details must be present to exemplify how God has worked to bring about His purposes.
The story is compelling, as I read, I want to know more detail about the events of his life. I wanted to know more, but the details were not necessary to see how God was working through the events.
Bridges has woven a story that teaches the authority and sovereignty of God. He has shown how God can make anything happen. He can also raise up anyone to do His work. This raising up is done by the Holy Spirit. Bridges describes his perspective of pnumatollogy, the working of the Holy Spirit, in the life a Christian. This description shows how the Spirit moves people in God's plan.
Bridges emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit in the life a a believer in Christ. This emphasis may make some people uncomfortable, while others may find his position too reserved. I found his doctrinal position and explanations helpful and refreshing. Christianity has found itself in two camps: cessationsits and charismatic. In each camp there are people who fail to see a middle ground or biblical variations from one side or the other. Bridges describes his position biblically and illustrates its practical outworking. His position should be considered by all who name Christ.
This short book was enjoyable to read. While reading his story I was driven to reflect on my own story. How has God moved and worked to bring me to my present place of ministry. For someone who is entering into Christianity, this autobiography is a great introduction to some life enhancing doctrines, while also showing a Servant of Christ who is steady and sure, while experiencing the time of timidity that we all have struggled through. Bridges humility and candor make this a tool for showing the need for these elements in the life of every servant of Christ. I would have every Christian read it so they begin to see how God works though every circumstance.