True Stories to Impact Your Story
There are a few things that give me perspective when life’s unexpected turns distract and discourage. One of those things is reading biographies of people who have walked with Jesus before me. It’s the true stories of their struggles to live for the kingdom of God that remind me that I am not alone. That whatever I am facing has been faced. That the most important things in life are much larger than me. That as God was with them to the end, so he will be with me.
In the last year, I have returned to reading biographies. Ok, truth-be-told, sometimes I listen on audiobook as well. Here’s a few that have encouraged and challenged me recently:
George Whitefield by Arnold Dallimore
Few biographies have been so highly lauded by so many people whom I respect than this one. Yes, it’s two volumes. Yes, it’s an investment. Yes, it’s worth it. Seriously, google the reviews for this book. I’ve heard theologians, professors, and pastors consistently reference it as one of the most influential books in their lives. The work of God through George Whitefield is mindblowing—proclaiming the gospel to a crowd of 20,000 with no amplification while many place their faith in Christ. Whitefield’s faith, character, and perseverance reminded me of God’s great grace to invite us into the work he is doing. It prodded me on and spurred me towards the humility and joy needed for the work.
A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards by George Marsden
There’s a longer edition of this biography, but I listened to this and thus chose the shorter version. It was encouraging and immensely helpful in setting me up for Religious Affections which I listened to afterwards. Jonathan Edwards articulated a response to the gospel that is deep and real. His theology is foundational. His influence is vast, and his wisdom offers guidance as we walk the Christian life with our hearts rejoicing and responding to the great gospel of our Savior. I was moved to worship our common Savior as I listened about him and listened to his own words.
Bonhoeffer Abridged: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s writings on community and discipleship are famous. His attempt on Hitler’s life is also. But there is more to his story, and the details of his life fill out the picture of what we may have already read or heard about him. Metaxes adds to the portrait of his struggles, devotion, and passion.
Fierce Convictions- The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More by Karen Swallow Prior
I’ve loved everything I’ve ever heard about Hannah More. She was a woman who knew what she believed and made choices to live her life in response to God’s grace. She fought for the education of girls, for moral reform, and for the abolition of the slave trade. Her influence in England can be seen in each of those areas along with the Sunday School movement and the welcoming of women writers alongside their male counterparts. Her faith undergirded all that she did. It makes me pray for brave women with fierce convictions who are willing to labor for change because of what God has done.
These are just a few that I would recommend to you. They will encourage and challenge you to give everything you have for Christ in the life you have. Their biographies will shape your biography with eternity in mind.