When the Darkness Will Not Lift
Summary: "God will hold onto you. You will make it. That is His promise." These are the exact statements a depressed person needs to hear. Short sentences packed with comfort, meaning and encouragement. This book is full of reminders that our assurance cannot be based on our feelings. This books constantly reaffirms that God will hold His people even in the darkest of circumstances. Piper also makes attempts to root out the cause of depression in a Christian and makes an honest effort to bring them back into the light.
Personal Thoughts: Piper makes some good points, but there were several places I don't agree with him. I'm going to start with the things I appreciated in this short read, and finish with my disappointments. First, he does a really good job describing melancholy. I love how he pulls in those great Puritan preachers to weigh in on the discussion. I agree with him when he repeatedly states that our assurance of salvation cannot depend on our feelings--especially in times of darkness. I also appreciated that Piper insists on getting people up and working. Inactivity will deepen the feelings of uselessness and melancholy. Cultivating thankfulness is also a critical part to getting better.
Now what I did not like: Piper is vague at best when he talks about the use of medication. He flits from quoting Martyn Lloyd Jones who speaks in favor of medication to quoting an article which claims anti-depressants are no better than a 'sugar pill.' He finishes this thought by saying that if we're wrong about the use of medication, "...the imputed righteousness of Christ will swallow it up." --pg 27. What??!! I'm not sure I like his insistence on demanding joy out of a depressed person or insisting they repent for their lack of joy. David did not repent for his cries of anguish in the psalms.
My favorite chapter was definitely the last one. The relationship between Cowper and Newton is so precious.
If you read this book, I strongly encourage you to read David Murray's book "Christian Get Depressed Too" as well. David Murray gives a more thorough treatment on the subject.
Quote: How can we help Christians who seem unable to break out of the darkness into the light of joy? Yes, I call them Christians, and thus assume that such things happen to genuine believers. It happens because of sin, or because of Satanic assault, or because of distressing circumstances, or because of hereditary or other physical causes. --pg 23