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When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God—and Joy

By John Piper (Author)
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Item Number 62666  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   1
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.42" Width: 5.78" Height: 0.65"
Weight:   0.21 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   Jan 31, 2007
ISBN  158134919X  
EAN  9781581349191  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
"It is utterly crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him." John Piper Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It can happen because of sin, satanic assault, distressing circumstances, or hereditary and other physical causes. In When the Darkness Will Not Lift, John Piper aims to give some comfort and guidance to those experiencing spiritual darkness. Readers will gain insight into the physical side of depression and spiritual darkness, what it means to wait on the Lord in a time of darkness, how unconfessed sin can clog our joy, and how to minister to others who are living without light. Piper uses real-life examples and sensitive narrative to show readers abundant reason to hope that God will pull them out of the pit of despair and into the light once again.

Publishers Description
Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It happens because of sin, satanic assault, distressing circumstances, hereditary and other physical causes. In When the Darkness Will Not Lift, John Piper aims to give some comfort and guidance to those experiencing spiritual darkness. Audio Book is read by Wayne Shepherd.

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More About John Piper

John Piper John Piper, the preaching pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis since 1980, is the author of numerous books" "and a senior writer for "World "magazine,"" He received his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich and taught biblical studies for six years at Bethel College, St. Paul, before becoming a pastor. He and his wife, Noel, have four sons and one daughter.

SPANISH BIO: John Piper es pastor de Bethlehem Baptist Church, en Mineapolis. Sus muchos libros incluyen: Cuando no deseo a Dios, No desperdicies tu vida, Lo que Jesus exige del mundo.

John Piper currently resides in Minneapolis, in the state of Minnesota. John Piper was born in 1946.

John Piper has published or released items in the following series...
  1. John Piper Small Group
  2. Swans Are Not Silent

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1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Death & Grief   [0  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Mental Health > Depression   [521  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Dealing with Melancholy: The Christian Perspective  Mar 11, 2008
~When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God--and Joy~ is insightful work by Baptist pastor John Piper. Piper examines the phenomenon of depression or melancholy from a Biblical perspective. This succinct book began as an epilogue to an earlier book When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight For Joy. Herein, Piper seeks to offer guidance and encouragement for those for whom joy seems to stay out of reach. As the book capsule summary notes, "Even the most faithful, focused Christian can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It can happen because of sin, satanic assault, distressing circumstances, or hereditary and other physical causes." And despite its brevity, this potent little book brings consolation for the downhearted believers in Christ.

One of the best known hymns is William Cowper's "God Moves In A Mysterious Way, His Wonders to Perform." Cowper was subject to melancholy and knew more about the dark side of Christian walk than its joy. It was out of experience that Cowper conjured these words: "Behind a frowning providence, he hides a smiling face."

Packed with practical advice for overcoming melancholy, Piper rises up to the challenge of helping readers face depression. He does so, by perceptively affirming the truth of Scripture. Piper offers a broadside against the bad theology of prosperity theologians that misrepresents the Christian walk as one of happiness or an experience of ecstatic joy. Genuine believers in Christ gripped by despair find little consolation in shallow pseudo-Christian well-wishing clothed in spiritual garb that is aloof from their bleak reality. In truth, the Scriptures make it resoundingly clear that life in this fallen world is very much subject to pitfalls--including a life of adversity, hardship and toil. It's not surprising that the Apostle Paul admonished young Timothy, "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Timothy 2:3). The challenge for the Christian--whether in the grip of a dark depression or simply faced with adverse challenges--is to fight for joy and savor the consolation of the Gospel promises. John Piper notes in his introduction:

"Richard Baxter... wrote with astonishing relevance about the complexities of dealing with Christians who seem unable to enjoy God. "Delighting in God, and in his word and ways," he said, "is the flower and life of true religion. But these that I speak of can delight in nothing--neither God, nor in his word, nor any duty." (pp. 12-13) As Puritan Richard Baxter would write in The Cure of Melancholy, "I have known grievous, despairing melancholy cured and turned into a life of godly cheerfulness, principally by setting upon constancy and diligence in the business of families and callings." Rising up to the challenges of adversity in the face of melancholy is the task of every Christian in their fight for joy. George McDonald, whom C.S. Lewis called "his master," would exhort the discouraged, proclaiming, "Heed not thy feelings: Do thy work." In other words, we should not let our feelings govern us, but our sense of duty and obligation as a Christian--which obviously includes the responsibilities of life.

Piper's sound advice admonishes against lingering in a state of depression rooted in self-absorption and self-pity. As Piper writes, "Sometimes the darkness of our souls is owing in part to the fact that we have drifted into patterns of life that are not blatantly sinful but are constricted and uncaring" (p. 61). Moreover, Piper consoles those struggling in a season of despondency to find solace in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and being a faithful witness of Him. Partaking in the Gospel proclamation can be a profound source of hope for one in despair. As Isaiah 58:11-12 declares,
The LORD will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
When the Darkness Will Not Lift  Dec 30, 2007
In practically one sitting, I read this short, 79 page work by John Piper. This book is essentially an extension of the last chapter of his book When I Don't Desire God. In it, he seeks to answer the tough questions (viz. What do Christians do when they fall into a state of darkness or depression due to trials or even to sin?). John Owen, the Puritan of Puritans, was his inspiration--it would seem--for this small work. He roots his answer in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He instructs the reader not to lose sight of the difference between justification and sanctification, making his battle over darkness some sort salvation performance done by him. He reminds the Christian of security in salvation, even when faith is waning. To the one who doubts whether or not he is even a Christian, Piper states the following: "Faith is sustained by looking at Christ, crucified and risen, not by turning from Christ to analyze your faith" (WDWNL, 41). Moreover, he reminds the believer not to submit to his doubt and become lazy. Rather, if you have lost joy in the Christian life, continue performing your Christian duties, asking God to give you back the joy that should accompany them. Piper ends this small little treatise on spiritual darkness by recounting the story of John Newton and William Cowper. Cowper, an 18th Century English poet, was a spiritual mess of a man, having attempted suicide numerous times before he even met Pastor John Newton (Newton himself has an amazing testimony, from beginning to end). Even after Newton befriended and aided Cowper in his spiritual struggles, Cowper's world remained dark and uncertain... he would die in that very condition. But, Newton stayed by his side the whole time, and Cowper never once doubted his care. Moreover, from these dark struggles of the mighty poet came hymns such as "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood" (Cowper). There is no reason to doubt, Piper thinks, that a sincere Christian can die during such a state of spiritual lowness. The point, however, remains: We must never give up! To lose sight of Christ and the cross will certainly damn any person. The truth of Christ was the one thing that Cowper, "though vile as [the dying thief on the cross]" according to his own hymn words, held onto. Newton was able to be there with him all the way, and never forsook him as a friend (even when Newton moved away, he continued communicating with Cowper through letters). In spiritual darkness, the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ are the Christian's ultimate hope. I believe Piper does a fine job of bringing that point home in this small, impactful little work.
A Helpful Tool in Treating Spiritual Darkness  Sep 19, 2007
When the Darkness Will Not Lift is a short (79 pp.) book written to encourage those Christians who are dealing with spiritual melancholy (depression). John Piper writes, "My aim is to give some guidance and hope to those for whom joy seems to stay out of reach." (p.12) Piper also writes to instruct believers as to how to help those who are encountering times of spiritual darkness.

By Piper's own admission this book is not intended to fully treat such a subject. I think this quote should be considered before anyone jumps all over Piper for not `dotting all his I's"

This book began as the final chapter of a larger book titled When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy. I hope that if this small book proves helpful, readers will consider what is in the larger one. There are crucial foundations in that larger book which are not included here." (p. 13)

In "treating" despair Piper advises that we "start with despair. Despair of finding any answer in yourself. I pray that you will cease from all efforts to look inside yourself for the rescue you need. I pray that you will do what only desperate people can do, namely, cast yourself on Christ." (p.21)

There are great practical exhortations throughout the book for those in despair or not, but particularly for those who are afflicted. In the following chapters Piper reminds us that We are not alone, a reminder of the prevailing faithfulness and power of God; Fold not the Arms of Action, a call to constantly be thankful and offering praise so as to produce joy; Does Unconfessed Sin Clog Our Joy?, an exhortation to confess our sin to God and others that we may `unclog' our joy; The Darkness that Feeds on Self-Absorption, a call to evaluate patterns in our lives, inspecting for self worshipping tendencies that produce despair.

The one issue that I had was the treatment of the `darkness' in general. What is it for? I sometimes got the impression in reading the book that the goal was to have the trial removed. It is not the removal of the trial that brings the joy but the presence of Christ in the trial that is my joy. This is why in James 1 believers are commanded to "count it all joy when you encounter various trials" this of course is because of the presence and power of Christ in conforming believers into his blessed image. This is akin to what Paul dealt with in 2 Corinthians 12.9-10. I have joy when I realize that even within a trial I am in fellowship with the Sovereign, Good and Glorious King of the universe. I know John Piper believes this, as I have heard him say it elsewhere. However, it just didn't seem to come out as clear in this book for me.

Overall I like the book, as I do with most of what John Piper writes. I love the emphasis upon the supremacy, sufficiency and beauty of Christ. I also was thankful that Piper acknowledges that issues of emotional pain are not only valid but also kind of messy. I am often discouraged when I hear folks dismiss emotional pain as either invalid or sinful. Piper acknowledges it and tries to help.

This book will no doubt prove valuable for those who are afflicted and to help other believers to be more helpful. I would also recommend Piper's larger work, How to Fight for Joy.
Good resource  Jun 8, 2007
This is a great book both for those who are going through a dark period in their life, and those who care about them. The only confusing part I found about the book is that it switches back and forth between addressing the depressed person and then the person who might want to counsel them. This is especially true towards the end of the book. Also, the author quotes some writings from several hundred years ago and uses the original Old World phrasings and spellings -- making some of the passages hard to read and understand.

However, I really like how short the book is. When someone is depressed, the last thing they want to do is read a long book. This is short, sweet, and to the point. It's up-lifting without being "syrupy". It's never condescending to the reader, and brought up some biblical passages that I had not thought about previously. Overall, I recommend this book.
Worthy of More Than What 79 Pages Delivers ...  May 2, 2007
When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God--and Joy

John Piper does not waste words nor space in filling this book with things other than scripture explaining the root of depression and Christian ways in assisting those afflicted with hopelessness, bitterness, and sadness. Darkness is the main impetus that keeps a depressed soul down, riddled with the falsehoods, accusations, unconfessed sin, tormenting harassment, and undeserving condemnation from the evil one himself. Secular "pep talks" with your counselor or therapist and antidepressent medications will only put bandaids on wounds that are really spiritual, not physiological, in nature. Hence, the prescription lies in the pages of the Holy Bible, where the true spiritual weapons are provided by God to combat the enemy's tactics to keep bound a wounded soul. And Piper just says which scripture can best be read to an afflicted individual, releasing him from the bondage of the enemy's lies (ie. Confessing Sin to One Another - 2 Corinthians 5:21, Jesus Does Not Condemn, Satan Does - Romans 8:33-34). Once those chains are broken, one can experience true joy, a fruit of the spirit that springs forth "like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." (Isaiah 58:11 KJV). In fact, this is what God created us for, to overflow with joy so that we may spread His word! Hallelujah! "Joy in Christ thrives on being shared. That is the essence of Christian joy; It overflows or dies." (Piper, page 65). We, as apostles to Christ, must "fight for joy in this fallen world of pain and suffering", while ministering to those who have no hope (Piper, page 79, in quoting 2 Corinthians 6:10). To read this book, draws me nearer to Piper's other writings, realizing that this book was originally a chapter in a much more expansive work. However, this book alone will be the better investment, over even one session with a secular counselor. Five Stars!

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