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A pebble in the ocean of God's will.
on April 25, 2001
In our day of self-help and "feel good" religion this may seem a strange book to many. Through the looking glass of the lives of John Buyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd, John Piper reminds us of something the Purtians called "The frowning providence of God."
This is the second in a series of books called, The Swans are Not Silent. Each book in this series takes a theme and then examines that theme in the Scripture and the lives of believers of the past. The theme of this work is suffering and affliction.
As always, Piper stretches our faith well beyond the normal comfort zones of evangelical thought. One can feel hid sorrow as Buyan parted from his family to spend 12 years in prison. It was in that prison however, that Pilrgims Progress was born. Piper carries us with William Cowper into the darkness of an insane asylum where in utter despair he finally found the grace and mercy of God. From that darkness Cowper broke into glorious light, writing that great hymn, There is a Fountain Filled With Blood. We are transported back to the apparent failure of David Brainerd as he was expelled from Yale for questioning the salvation of an instructor. We walk with Brainerd through his short years as a missionary to the Indians. Piper reminds us that none of us know what waves will spread out from a pebble dropped into the ocean of God's will.
The Hidden Smile of God is the kind of book that you won't put down once you open it. This is a much needed book in our day. So-called Christian broadcasting is beaming a message around the world of feel-good easiness. It may be a hard word to embrace but it is true. God's people are not spared from affliction and trouble. They are brought through these things in the grace and mercy of God.