I received a review copy of Joe Thorn’s book “Experiencing the Trinity” from Crossway Publishers. I was quite intrigued, because–as I’m sure it is for each of you–the concept of Trinity completely baffles me. Just glancing at the title, I anticipated that there would be explanations, interpretations, commentary that would provide insight.
Not so. Not really, anyway. Instead, what I found where (very) short readings on who God is. The book is broken into 3 sections–God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Within each section are chapters focusing on one aspect of who God is. For example, some of the chapter headings include the following: He Is Good, His Obedience, He Intercedes.
All good stuff.
But, within the first few chapters, I found myself getting frustrated. Thorn’s words are very brief for such large topics. I wanted more information–I want more information. Each chapter led to more questions in my brain–well, How is God good? Why do I continually fail at obedience, and yet I am supposed to be obedient like Jesus is obedient? How–or more aptly why–would the Holy Spirit deign to intercede for me, when there are many and far greater needs in this world? And so forth…..
But then I went back and read the Forward/Introduction. That’s not something I do often–it’s a bad habit of mine, I generally just dive into a book. In reading Thorn’s introduction, I realized that he wrote these words during a dark time in his life. A “Dark Night of the Soul”, if you would. Essentially, he was preaching to himself.
So, I thought about that for a bit and this is what I came up with: for many, when they are in their darkest days, big words (and many of them)–particularly about God–are too much. Too overwhelming. Sometimes, in those hard moments, it is the small words that are needed. The kinds of words that are fairly easy to digest, that are settling, that are reminders of what has to be truth. Sometimes, all we can grasp is that God has to be real. Scripture has to be truth. Forgiveness, surely, is granted. Sometimes, we just need to take the shortest verses in the Bible and write them out a hundred times, until the words sink into our souls.
Thorn has done that well here. He provides short, concrete words that can be read either as a daily reading, or the whole book in one sitting. This is no theological heavy-weight tome on the Trinity, and yet, it is theologically sound. And sometimes, I suppose, heavy-weight tomes are not necessary or helpful.
I can see myself purchasing copies of this to put into the hands of several who are hurting.