On My Bedside Table is a book review series that wants to make sure that the best books are read over and over again. Find out more about the series here.
Walking with God, John Eldredge (2008).
Have you ever wondered if an intimate walk with God is actually possible for ordinary you, living a 21st century life far removed from Bible times? Have you ever longed for a deeper experience with God? Have you ever felt like you know God is interested in you in theory, but you’d like to experience more of that in practice? Me too. And that’s why Walking with God by John Eldredge touched me so deeply.
I’ve always loved a good story. I love pictures of what it looks like to move beyond concepts and live out some theory or value in everyday life. John Eldredge’s startlingly vulnerable book is “a series of stories of what it looks like to walk with God over the course of about a year” (p. xii), in which he opens his journals and his heart to chronicle the joys and challenges of learning to live in greater intimacy with God. It is an honest, beautiful, relatable, and sometimes painful journey which left me longing to have more and more of Jesus in my own life.
Eldredge discusses learning to listen to God, finding God in our pain and in the mundane, and experiencing times of restoration, growth, and healing, among other things. Over and over he comes back to the central truth of—and our need to be “rooted and grounded” in—God’s love (see Ephesians 3:14-19).
One of the most challenging readings for me (and there were many) was a revelation Eldredge had during his recovery from a serious accident. He discovered how his need to “make it happen” and be in control was deeply embedded in his life. He essentially liked to be his own god. I could relate. I like to be in control, I have often felt that my happiness and success is mostly up to me, and until I read this story, I had never seriously considered what that said about my view of God or my lack of real trust in him. I resonated with Eldredge’s prayer:
“Jesus, I sanctify all my gifts and all of my abilities to ‘make it happen’ to you now. I bring them to you, to serve you and not my godless approach to life. I ask that your love would heal that part of me that feels I must make it happen, that all things—especially my happiness—are up to me… I transfer my trust from my ability to make things happen to your love and goodness.” (pp. 103-104)
My copy of Walking with God is marked all over with notes, underlining, and exclamation points, which for me is a true sign of love and a high recommendation. I find this book speaks to me in each re-reading. Moreover, since my first reading, I’ve been inspired to listen more to God and not just talk to (or at) him, which has resulted in many more personal, intimate moments with God, experiences of reaching out to others at just the right time, and a greater sense of peace. I encourage you to dig into this book for yourself and rediscover the possibility, the necessity, and the joy of walking with God.
“God created us for intimate fellowship with himself, and in doing so he established the goal of our existence—to know him, love him, and live our lives in an intimate relationship with him.” (p. 12)
Lynette Allcock lives in Watford, UK, where she teaches English, writes, and presents for Adventist Radio London. As well as being a bookworm, she loves travelling, tea, and good conversations.