Thursday 10 September 2015

Book Review: Things Not Seen: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Trusting God’s Promises by Jon Bloom


God is doing far more than we can see in our pain.
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.

My Review

Jon Bloom is one of the authors and Board Chair of John Piper's Desiring God website, a site I frequent one or two times a week.

I found this series of 35 sketches of Biblical characters to be so encouraging. Bloom explores matters of the heart by shining new light on some of the better known biblical stories. They are short with a brief introduction on the truth being explored followed by the vignette and each ends with a short commentary on the story and truth.

All of the stories and truths are topical and very relevant for us all. I so appreciated the story of Jonathan and David. Bloom introduces the sketch with the notion that yielding power can be a tremendous challenge. We are then transported to the time when David is on the run from Saul. Bloom depicts the beauty of their friendship and in particular Jonathan's humility in yielding his succession to the throne to David.

Samson's story was another one that particularly touched me: "the gifts God gives us are about God's greatness not ours. They should keep us humble …"

It ends with a few pages of great encouragement. Our journey with Christ is a hard one and Bloom acknowledges this with a series of verses that he connects with a relevant angst that we all contend with most days. The sketches “remind us that God hides His most precious treasures in our most difficult and painful experiences.” Bloom’s parting words of "Don't give up" sum this magnificent work up so well.

It’s a quick read, each sketch being only three to four pages. I'm sure I'll be reading this again before too long and will be sharing it with others. BTW, the PDF of the book is accessible from 

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Thanks for that, Ian. It sounds so very helpful. I'm going to download it right away.

    1. Hi Rita, I think you'll enjoy a different take on historical fiction.


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