“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me up against the Rock of Ages.” -C.H. Spurgeon
And that poetic quote from C.H. Spurgeon is what inspired the name of the book Kiss the Wave: Embracing God in Your Trials by Dave Furman. As I’m sure you can guess from the quote and the book title, the message of Kiss the Wave is all about experiencing trials and learning to trust God through them.
Although Furman is a pastor at a Redeemer Presbyterian (a church plant of Tim Keller’s original church in NYC) he doesn’t speak to his audience as a man who distances himself from us with a pulpit and prose from an ivory tower theologian. No, Furman himself has endured his own form of suffering from a health condition that causes him intense nerve pain.
The high points of Kiss the Wave: Embracing God in Your Trials:
Furman’s anecdotal stories were a nice takeaway. I really enjoyed the portions where he talks about his own life in how it relates to suffering and following God through a crisis, but I would have liked to have seen more from him on this. These stories gave a personal touch that bridged a gap with his audience and him.
There was also a couple of interesting stories from others as it relates to suffering and trusting God. My favorite was the story of theologian, J.I. Packer who endured a brain injury that hampered his physical activities but with that struggle, he veered his mind to do what it could do: the pursuit of growing his intellect. Again, I felt like there could be more stories of others as a practical application of how fellow sufferers have applied some of the concepts Furman spoke about and how we can as well.
The low points of Kiss the Wave:
I felt like there were some parts of Kiss the Wave: Embracing God in Your Trials that was unsettling. For instance on pages 93-94, Furman names the trials in our life as “gifts” quoting the verse to “count it all joy” as the reasoning behind calling suffering gifts. Yet, to have joy through a trial is very different than calling the trial itself joy. (Tim Keller made this important distinction in a sermon of his on Romans 8:28.)
In another unsettling moment, it felt like Furman was taking the stance that someone needs to be a Calvinist to fully embrace their trials because as a Calvinist, one can embrace God as fully sovereign. I feel like it’s important to recognize that God’s sovereign and in control, but other practicing Christians in other denominations can still embrace this concept.
Final words of Kiss the Wave:
There were some interesting stories in Furman’s book Kiss the Wave: Embracing God in Your Trials and a couple of good takeaways on turning our eyes away from ourselves in a “selfie culture.” It may not have been my favorite topic on the topic of trusting God through our trials, but I think its accessible size of 140 pgs. and stories will be helpful to those who don’t want a dense read on the subject.
We generously received this book for free from Crossway in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.