22 February 2014

Book Review: When the Darkness Will Not Lift

It has always seemed to me that John Piper, in many regards, understands depression or melancholy better than many pastors do.  Perhaps it is because he has admitted his own tendencies to struggle through some dark nights. When the Darkness Will Not Lift (2006), a short, 79-page book that was originally appended to another book When I don't Desire God was a treatment he gave to the issue of melancholy.

In classic style, Piper harkens back to those who have gone before him, particularly the Puritans, in understanding depression. In particular, he brings up the wise writings of Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, and John Newton, to name a few. Piper recognizes that older writers often have much to say about the Christian life.

Piper has a particular way of knitting theology to life. He applies his understanding of the nature and character of God to the human condition.  While this is a strength, I fear that many people, particularly in the throes of depression, may miss the application of theology to their daily life.  Having said that, my desire is that more people would understand the importance of our thinking about God and how it can have a profound impact on how we live, even in the midst of darkness.

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