Read this if…
- You want a fresh perspective on old stories
- You need to be reminded of God’s promises and faithfulness.
- You are looking for a great resource for your family to read together.
We plead for God’s deliverance from our pain and wonder why he keeps letting it go on. We are not alone. A cloud of witnesses surrounds us and they help us understand. In these 35 creative retellings of Bible stories, Jon Bloom explores the hope and joy that Abraham, Moses, Naomi, John the Baptist, and others experienced in the painful process of discovering that God’s promises really are more trustworthy than our perceptions.
Review by Dahlia Orth – @dahliaorth
This was my first time reading Jon Bloom’s work. I am always looking for good books that help me grow in my walk with the Lord and deepen my love for Him. I am so thrilled to share that this book did not disappoint. Personally, I had reached a place in my spiritual walk where I needed reminding of the Lord’s promises and enduring faithfulness. The Lord used Things Not Seen mightily in my relationship with Him.
Things Not Seen is a collection of sermon-like chapters focused on illustrating timeless Biblical accounts and bringing them to life in new and refreshing ways. Every chapter is short (approx. 3-5 pages long) but they are all packed with content. In my favorite chapter – “He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease.” – Bloom examines the life of John the Baptist and explains how the Lord prepared John’s heart to be used in the various capacities in which he would serve the mission of Jesus. John had anticipated the arrival of Jesus in such a significant way, but he never saw the full fruition of his ministry on Earth prior to his death. He was used to pave the way for Jesus’s ministry – and what a role that must have been to play. However, John did not see the fruit of his labor and the Lord prepared his heart for this disappointment as well. Bloom says,
“Learning to love the Great Wedding more than their part in it would not come easily to John’s disciples either. He knew they loved the Bridegroom, but their hearts required further recalibration. When the blessed Lord grants one a role to play, one must perform it faithfully, but never grasp it. The role is not the reward, the Lord is the reward.”
I found myself exclaiming, “YES!” Oh, how much I needed to be reminded of this precious truth. The roles I am given to play are not mine; they are from the Lord. When I cling to those roles more than I cling to Jesus, the Lord so graciously reminds me that they are not my own. Bloom loads this book with many of these amazing truths that kept me turning the pages faster and faster.
If there were an area or two of criticism to give this book, it would involve its structure. The content, as mentioned, was awesome! Jon Bloom is indeed a gifted writer who can pack quite a punch into small chapters. However, it seemed to lack a seamless flow between chapters or a topical order. That drove me a bit crazy at first because my organizational mind struggles to function without order. But, when I let go of the lack of organization from a topical standpoint, I began to really enjoy the book more. However, this was a minor problem that the table of contents simply helped to solve. On the upside, one can open to any chapter individually and glean much from its pages. Another area of concern was the lack of context – specifically for readers who might not be familiar with the biblical stories that Bloom expounds. My appreciation for the book comes with the background of having been a Bible college student. Some readers may not have had a similar education which could could pose a challenge.
After I finished “Things Not Seen”, my first thought was, “I wonder what other books Jon Bloom has written?” Any follower of Christ at any stage in their relationship with Him would benefit significantly from this book. We all need to be reminded often of God’s promises and His continued faithfulness in our lives. This book did just that for me! I was reminded time and time again of the goodness, grace, and love of our Savior. Bloom’s conclusion was filled with Biblical wisdom and encouragement:
“So look to Jesus (Heb. 12:2), ‘fight the good fight’ of faith (1 Tim 6:12) and finish your race (2 Tim, 4:7). When you have done the will of God, you will receive what is promised: his great and eternal reward (Heb. 10: 35-36). Measured by eternity, the hardships of this life will not be long, and ‘by your endurance you will gain your lives (Luke 21:19). Don’t give up”. This book will be one that I revisit often to remember the Lord’s wonderful faithfulness to His promises that compel me to persevere in this race of faith.