When The Darkness Will Not Lift

When The Darkness Will Not Lift

I haven’t posted on this yet, but last week I received John Piper’s latest book from the folks at Desiring God, entitled “When The Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait For God — And Joy.”

Even though it comes in a mere 79 pages, it is full of great insight and advice about how we can fight the battle daily for joy and how to encourage and minister to those around us who are battling depression. The book comes from a chapter in Piper’s “When I Don’t Desire God,” which is another excellent treatment of this subject.

I received the book in the mail and sat down and read it in an afternoon. I am not a fast reader by any means but this book is very easy to read and is something I would return to often for words of wisdom and would highly recommend it for passing along to those who are hurting. Piper acknowledges that this book’s intent is not to be an exhaustive treatment of this subject — he lists several good books for those who wish to read more to explore — yet he gives good counsel in just a short number of pages.

This is an area where many of us have struggled. It is good to be able to have a book like this from one of our top Christian authors as a resource.

Fearing and loving God

Today as I read, the word that stood out to me was from Genesis 3 where the serpent tempts Adam and Eve. You can see his tried and true method in the way he has them doubting what God has explicitly told them. That has not changed.

The fact that Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden shows that their sin has not just spoiled the perfection but made them enemies of God. Not long after that, it is always fascinating reading the account of Cain and Abel to see how God, in his sovereignty, chooses which offering he will accept. And then, after Cain has murdered Abel, you can see how God is merciful even in dealing with those who have no standing.

In another part of my reading, from Psalm 2, I was struck by the mingling of fear and rejoicing in verse 11: Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. At men’s group last Friday we were looking at the opening chapter of Revelation and this same idea came up. In our age, we have a real problem with fearing God because it doesn’t suit our idea of who He should be. In Revelation, it was Jesus; here, it is God. I think it is a problem for many because they think too highly of themselves and not highly enough of God. He is holy. We are not. We cannot overcome our own inadequacy when we come before Him and that is why we must fear. Yet, He is the greatest Being in the universe and He is to be worshipped.

My prayer is that I never lose that “rejoicing with trembling” in my own life.

A good time to get into the Word

Even though today will be a day of football for many (even for the people at my house), it is also a good day to think about resolutions. As always, I have resolved to read through the Bible this year. I shouldn’t say always because I haven’t always resolved to do that. Rather, it has been my goal for many years of my life as a believer, which I have been for almost 25 years now.

Some years I have done better than others. In 2006 I struggled and didn’t do as well, and I can see looking back how that made my life that much harder. So, for the benefit of my own soul and to know my God better, I resolve to spend time daily in his word. My plan for this year is from the ESV’s Web site and it’s Daily Bible Plan. Appropriately, the passage for today contains Psalm 1:

The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked

 

1:1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

There are many things we can aspire to and as we come to a new calendar year it is often appropriate to make goals. Obviously, some things are more desirable and better for us than others. This is one goal I definitely want to achieve because I know that I want to be like the man who is described in Psalm 1.