How should we struggle with our emotional sufferings? One particular way is to meditate on the character of the Triune God. That is what pastor Joe Thorn did when he went through a particularly “desperate” season of life. In Experiencing the Trinity, Thorn shares with us the insights about God that most helped him with during that time. This simple, and yet rich, book is a great tool for helping readers to meditate upon the attributes of the Triune God that enable us to have confidence in the midst of our emotional struggling.
Thorn explains the driving force behind his book is a reminder to himself. His previous book, Note to Self, did the same thing but this small volume focuses primarily on the devotional nature of God’s attributes. The intent is to keep his heart and mind, and by extension ours, focused on the Lord as we all go through seasons of sorrow. Thorn writes:
What I have written here, I have primarily written for and to myself. I needed to hear these words during a desperate period of my life, and though that particular time of affliction has passed, I continue to need them today. I hope that these reflections on the grace of our triune God will encourage those who find themselves battling fear, anxiety, temptation, affliction, and doubt. I am there with you, but more importantly, so is the Lord. (13)
Each chapter focuses on a different character or attribute of God and the grace that God manifests to us in its display. As a devotional resource its chapters are short (2-3 pages) and yet the content is rich. Meditating on these characteristics is certainly going to help many of us as we wrestle with emotional challenges.
The book is broken down into three parts, each consisting of 15-20 chapters. The parts correspond to the three persons of the one Godhead, and so readers get a focused look at the character of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Thorn begins each chapter with a passage of Scripture to guide the topic, and then proceeds to write, very literally, to himself. He writes to challenge, encourage, and embolden the reader with the topic of the chapter. So, writing about the deity of Jesus, Thorn speaks to himself. He says:
I know that you sometimes feel as if there is no hope for your growth in godliness. You believe that your sin will always get the better of you. But the God who saves has saved you with a purpose and a power that changes the soul and produces godliness. The God who made you a new creation will continue his work of salvation in you. Jesus has saved you and is saving you. Do you believe this? (64)
Each attribute has a focused application, challenge, or encouragement to the reader. They are clearly written by Thorn for himself, and yet they have broad relevance to us.
I found myself incredibly encouraged from this little book. Readers can go through a chapter each morning and spend some time meditating on both the Scriptural passage and content of the chapter. In this regard, it is a great resource for devotional study and a perfect tool for counselors to assign to those they are seeking to help. It can drive us into a deeper knowledge of God, and also aid us in experiencing the grace of God for our emotional struggles. I found it beneficial not only for me, but I plan to keep it on hand to give out to counselees in the future. This is a wonderful book and I highly commend it to all. Whatever the nature of your struggle, and all Christians have some, Experiencing the Trinity will help you focus your heart and mind on God in the midst of it.