Please Encourage Me (And Let’s Read An Encouraging Book Together)

There are two things I’d like to communicate in this brief blog post. The first is a request and the second is an invitation.

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First, the request: Encourage me. I’d love it if you’d consider submitting the answer to a question and I’ll then round up some of the answers and share them next week. So here goes.

God promises to work all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. This includes even, and perhaps especially, the difficult things. What are some of the surprising ways you have witnessed or experienced God’s goodness in this difficult time?

Fill in this form and check back early next week to read a selection of them.

Second, the invitation: Read with me. I’d like to be encouraged together by reading a book on this very topic—God’s goodness in difficult times. Thomas Watson’s All Things for Good (aka A Divine Cordial) is an exposition of Romans 8:28 and seems a fitting book to read right now. So why don’t we read it together? Here’s how Banner of Truth describes it:

Thomas Watson’s book All Things For Good provides the biblical answer to the contemporary question; Why do bad things happen to good people?

Thomas Watson, the 17th century minister of St. Stephen’s Walbrook, believed he faced two great difficulties in his pastoral ministry. The first was making the unbeliever sad, in the recognition of his need of God’s grace. The second was making the believer joyful in response to God’s grace. He believed the answer to the second difficulty could be found in Paul’s teaching in Romans 8.28: God works all things together for good for his people.

Thomas Watson’s exposition is always simple, illuminating and rich in practical application. He explains that both the best and the worst experiences work for the good of God’s people. He carefully analyses what it means to be someone who ‘loves God’ and is ‘called according to his purpose’.

If you’ve never read Puritan writing before, I think you’ll find Watson surprisingly accessible and extremely relevant. This book is also relatively short, so shouldn’t prove burdensome.

Let’s read All Things for Good together and do so at a pretty good clip. Why don’t you track down a copy and read the introduction and first two sections (“The Best Things Work for Good to the Godly” and “The Worst Things Work for Good to the Godly”) by Tuesday, April 28. On that day I’ll offer a few reflections and assign a couple more chapters. We’ll continue that way until the book is done.

The book is widely available, though obviously there are shipping constraints now, so you may find electronic versions easiest to access. Do note that some of the electronic versions, especially the free Kindle versions, may be very poorly formatted. The Kindle version I’ve linked to should be done well and is all of $1.50.