In the midst of all of this, I remembered a book that has been sitting on my shelf for years. I decided to finally pull it off the shelf and read it.
When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper……oh my goodness. I needed that. It wasn’t a long, in-depth, “religious” book. It’s 79 pages and written perfectly for the depressed, discouraged, jaded, and weary.
He talks about that mustard seed of faith. Even if it is minuscule…even if it is a mustard seed….it is still faith. I don’t have to try to increase my faith. I don’t have to try so hard to get mountain moving, earth shaking faith. I just need faith.
I don’t need to be so ashamed at church because I am not focusing on the hymns and because my heart is shaky repeating some of the lyrics. Those parts of the lyrics I can sing? That is my faith. I can own that. Rejoice in that. That part of my heart is real. That is Jesus working.
“Stop looking at your faith. And rivet your attention on Christ.” – page 41
Over and over and over this book ministered to my very soul.
“It is utterly crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand o God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him.” – pg 37
It was so reassuring to know that I am not the only one who has felt like I simply cannot hold on any longer. And so reassuring to realize…..I don’t have to.
“Our faith rises and falls. It has degrees. But our security does not rise and fall. It has no degrees. We must persevere in faith. That’s true. But there are times when our faith is the size of a mustard seed and barely visible. In fact, the darkest experience for the child of a God is when his faith sinks out of his own sight. Not out of God’s sight, but out of his own sight. Yes, it is possible to be so overwhelmed with darkness that you do not know if you are a Christian – and yet still be one.” – pg. 38
Again…..hugely reassuring to know that I was not alone in feeling this way. I was not a bad Christian. And even on my darkest days, God’s vision never faltered, His hand never wavered. He could still see me and He was still holding me.
He quoted from Richard Baxter: “Say not, that you are unfit for thanks and praises unless you have a praising heart and were the children of God: for every man, good and bad, is bound to praise God, and to be thankful for all that he hath received, and to do it as well as he can, rather than leave it undone….Doing it as you can is the way to be able to do it better. Thanksgiving stirrteth up thankfulness in the heart.” – pg 52
“The decisive blow against Satan’s destructive power was delivered by the death of Jesus for our sins (Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14). This means that Satan can harass us and even kill us, but he cannot destroy us. Only unforgiven sin can damn the human soul. If Christ has covered all our sin by his blood, and if God imputes to us the perfect righteousness of Christ, then Satan has no grounds for any damning accusation, and his case against us fails in the court of heaven.” – page 57
Yes!! Yes, yes, yes!! My heart soared as I realized anew that all that guilt piled upon me was not from God. Satan’s case against me…my case against myself…..fails!!!!
Just because I struggled with all those things does not mean that I was not a Christian. Real Christians have these struggles with pain and deep anguish.
This book was life changing. Or rather….the truth contained within it was life changing. I am so, so thankful that years ago my sister gave it to me and that I kept it. I am so thankful that I thought of it that day and decided to read it.
Part One Part Two Part Three
Part Four Part Five Part Six
Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine
So funny how someone can give us a book years before we read it and need it… that happened to me too with a book I’m reading right now, that my mom gave me years ago. 🙂 I think you’re right that, unfortunately, our relationship with God has seasons. I’ve had times when I’ve felt closer to God and times when I’ve felt far away or angry. I guess our relationships with our friends and family can change like that too at times… I like the idea that as small as our faith is, it’s still enough. We just need a bit. 🙂 Thanks!
Yes! I love how God knows years before we do what we will need! 🙂 There can definitely be ups and downs in relationships….both horizontal and vertical relationships.
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