For four months I have put off writing this review for Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper. It wasn’t because I was too busy or that I didn’t like the book; it was because I wasn’t sure what I thought about the word “sovereignty”. I had to conduct Bible searching, lots of sermon listening (which God provided) and spend many hours in prayer to come to an understanding of this term.
The book is a fabulous overview of the story of Ruth from the Old Testament. If you’re not familiar with the book of Ruth, I highly suggest you read it in your Bible – and follow up by reading/listening to John Piper’s account of the extras that aren’t included in the Word (numerous historical details and terminology of the day).
John Piper states that bad things are in God’s Plan for our lives. I had a very difficult time digesting that information. At the age of 18, I lost both of my parents (10 months apart). After being raised in the Church, I was so bitter that God would “allow” this to happen to me, that I went searching for answers (like the old song says: looking for love in all the wrong places…). After years of wandering, I returned to His Arms for healing, however, my main question had not been answered: Who controls death? Was it God or satan? After listening to this audio book, John Piper made it sound like God didn’t “allow” it, but actually “ordained” it! That was really hard for me (and it’s been a VERY LONG TIME since my parents passed away).
Now, after several months, I am at a place where I agree with John. His explanation made sense, although I didn’t want to accept it as being true. He (God, not John) has brought me to a safe place where I can honestly say that I KNOW I wouldn’t be the person I am today if this loss had not happened – and if I’m completely honest, my life is NOT for me, it’s to glorify God! He is now able to use me in ways I could have never been used otherwise.
I would highly recommend this book if you would like a fabulous overview of Ruth AND if you prayed the same prayer I did in February 2010 – “God, please grow me during this Lenten season, like you never have before”…just remember, be careful what you ask for!
I was provided a copy of this audio book by christianaudio reviewers program (http://christianaudio.com).