When the Darkness Will Not Lift, by John Piper

1581348762When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God – and Joy, by John Piper, is a great little book and I do mean LITTLE. I started it with a hot bath and finished when the water temperature had turned a pleasant warm. Its short and concise and almost not big enough to be a book. But then, who wants to read lots of waffly stories when one is depressed??? And who wants to hand an encyclopedia to a friend who probably does not like to read and will never finish the dang book anyway?

The book is an excellent read and is not a time waster. John Piper shows why he is a perennial favorite across the spectrum of the evangelical world and one of the most referenced pastor/writers in the blogosphere [40+ mentions a day] . .. despite not having his own blog.

Piper surprised me in this book by doing what very few Reformed writers do and by that I mean:

1. Mention DIET

2. Consider EXORCISM (and confess to turning up at one)

3. Quote George MacDonald.

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In true reformed style, Piper digs up Reformers Owen and Baxter, as well as some more recent voices (Lloyd-Jones), to speak from their situation into ours on the subject of depression. And of course he offers his own balanced, wise and biblical advice on seeing the darkness lift, and what to do when it refuses to vanish.

Want the whole book on PDF? Fine . . get it here. Cant afford the cover price on the paper version? Fine . . talk to the Desiring God folk about it their “whatever-you-can-afford policy”.

Now if that doesn’t lift the depression, I don’t know what will.


My wife is reading the book right now and she says “A book that has to be given away. Every Christian needs 3 copies of this book. One for their shelves and the other two to give away to friends suffering from depression”

OH thats just GREAT! Now I need to buy 2 more copies. That’s really DEPRESSING!

OTHERS: Leavened, Cross-eyed, and Justin Taylor recommends reading some Ed Welch for some additional teaching.


John Piper in a Postmodern World

John Piper and the Desiring God Conference


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Rodney Olsen says:

    I’ll have to look out for it. I’ve been listening to Piper’s weekly podcast sermons for the last couple of months and just love his depth of understanding.

  • Mike says:

    Thanks for metioning this book. I will add it to my reading list.

  • Tim Keller says:

    With all due respect, I wonder what ‘Reformed writers’ you mean. The Puritans were nuanced soul-physicians (as the quotes from Baxter prove) and Dr Lloyd-Jones was as well. (The same could be said for Jonathan Edwards.) They all believed that the roots of depression can be very complex–physiological, psychological, moral/conscience, spiritual, demonical. So I’m not sure why you are surprised at the balance in John Piper’s treatment.

  • chad says:

    This is intereresting considering the comments Piper has made recently (in His Desiring God conference) dealing with the E.C and Post-modernism.
    Andrew, I always appreciate your spirit. You find the good in everything.

  • Tim Keller says:

    I certainly agree with Chad–Andrew, you are a bridge-builder.

  • Adam says:

    A Reformed pastor quoting George MacDonald! Now that’s worth checking out!

  • emma says:

    Sounds like a great little book, will have to pick it up myself, thanks Andrew!

  • Puddleglum says:

    This book, I believe, is the last chapter of Piper’s “When I Don’t Desire God”. It’s wonderful stuff and it was a great idea to publish this material as a stand alone booklet. Get it!

  • Bryan Riley says:

    As a new missionary it kills me to keep finding books i want to go out and buy and read. we need a book sharing club or someone who donates already read books to us!

  • Tim, once again . . my ignorance of American Presbyterians amuses me and I am delighted to be corrected. No complaints about early Reformers – they seemed to have a good handle on spiritual warfare and diet. But what about the present?
    It would be great if you could recommend:
    1. A Presbyterian cookbook as good as any other denomination
    2. A Presbyterian who is teaching a sound theology of cuisine, cooking and kitchen rhythms that matches that of the Jesuits (or Episcopalians like Robert Capon from New York)
    2. A Presbyterian who is currently training/teaching on spiritual warfare and how to cast out demons with as much authority as those from the charasmatic/pentecostal world.

  • Victor says:

    Even though I’m not Reformed I like a lot of what Piper says. He wrote an article on the Christian imagination that made me jump for joy. Check this out:
    “Imagination may be the hardest work of the human mind. And perhaps the most God-like. It is the closest we get to creation out of nothing…We must create word combinations and music that have never existed before. All of this we do, because we are like God and because he is infinitely worthy of ever-new words and songs.”
    The link can be found here: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2003/1228_God_Is_Not_Boring/

  • ok you have now officially freaked my tush out twice….
    the first time it was with the lonie fresbe thing… cause i was reading that book by Crowder and he touched on that…. and i just saw that book on my friends kitchen table…after some major inner healing stuff .. which the root was depression and it was yesterday! thanks… dude… i saw that book and it hit my spirit to send it to the person that was here…. (ask D)….
    and now i just checked in to see what was up…. (that is becomming MORE of a spiritual habit)- and you had the friggin picture of the book that ONLY 3 hours ago i heard HIM say.. “you need to send it to him”-
    THANK YOU for the confirmation… Seriously! That punched my sternum in the spirit! Dang…. fast confirmation… Thank you Abba God…
    and thanks for putting it on Andrews “thoughts” to send it out…. “spot on in the Spirit”
    ps… blessing to the new year!… got TK pics just a few min. ago from Antwerp…. Ok God… help me get our passports….
    luv ya…. cat

  • A little encouraging book by John Piper

    Heres a great little book by John Piper, a quite well-known pastor and Reformed Evangelical (whatever that means please enlighten me). Just read the excerpt and it is promising. In the chapter I read Piper basically deals with the fact th…

  • linda says:

    I find John Piper’s stuff really helpful. He’s a good teacher.

  • Jackie says:

    Sorry for commenting on a very old post. I couldn’t find your contact email on here. By the way, I got here via a search on Tim Keller since I just heard a sermon on mp3 by him (The Prodigals). I found it via Tim Challies A La Carte. And doesn’t Tim Challies mention you or link to you quite frequently?
    Anyway, I wanted to comment on this:
    “2. A Presbyterian who is currently training/teaching on spiritual warfare and how to cast out demons with as much authority as those from the charasmatic/pentecostal world.”
    The best recommendation I can give to fulfill this request is to let you know about a pastor in Hawaii at First Presbyterian in Honolulu. He is a pastor on staff at First Pres under Dan Chun. The pastor who is actually teaching and ministering in the presbyterian church in this very way that you mentioned above is Jordan Seng. If you want a link I can get you one. If not, I at least wanted you to know that there are some Presbyterian people out there engaging in this type of warfare.
    If it helps, I am a former member of the church where C.J. Mahaney pastored in Maryland. We were there for 6 years. We had to move – military orders. We are now in Charlotte, where we look forward to a book signing in March by Tim Keller. Anyway, just wanted you to know about a good teacher and minister in the Presbyterian tradition who is serving the Church in this way. I know I appreciate his teaching. it is hard to find good charismatic teaching that isn’t tainted with strange doctrine.
    Jackie M.
    Charlotte NC
    Let me know if you want sermon links by Jordan to some representative teachings on this topic.

  • boom lift says:

    Well, sorry for commenting on your old post too. I just want to say thanks, the book was great!
    Luigi Hanway

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