The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd

The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd

John Piper / Feb 25, 2021

The Hidden Smile of God The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan William Cowper and David Brainerd Bunyan Cowper Brainerd We read their stories and wonder how they endured How does one survive twelve years in a dank prison cell How does one survive month after month of a depression so debilitating

  • Title: The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd
  • Author: John Piper
  • ISBN: 9781581342475
  • Page: 477
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Bunyan Cowper Brainerd.We read their stories and wonder how they endured How does one survive twelve years in a dank prison cell How does one survive month after month of a depression so debilitating that death seems the only hope How does one endure tuberculosis Or cancer, or emptiness, or death, or loneliness, or divorce Whatever the trial may be, how does one endBunyan Cowper Brainerd.We read their stories and wonder how they endured How does one survive twelve years in a dank prison cell How does one survive month after month of a depression so debilitating that death seems the only hope How does one endure tuberculosis Or cancer, or emptiness, or death, or loneliness, or divorce Whatever the trial may be, how does one endure without the soul shriveling up and blowing away with the breeze In the lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd, we find the strength of soul that not only endures hardship, but honors God in the midst of it The Giver and Sustainer of life enabled them to worship through all their suffering That s why their affliction bore so much fruit The story of their suffering, their perseverance, and their passion is one that can inspire the same hunger for the supremacy of God in your life.John Piper invites you to read their stories, consider their lives, and be encouraged that no labor and no suffering in the path of Christian obedience is ever in vain Even the bleak hill of Golgotha was a skull with a frown of affliction on its face But behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face Just as Bunyan s, Cowper s, and Brainerd s suffering produced the worship and humility that is essential to Christian living, we too can look to God for great privileges to come from our own pain And we too can remember, The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

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      Published :2020-08-19T05:19:04+00:00

    About "John Piper"

      • John Piper

        John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod and chancellor of Bethlehem College Seminary For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary B.D , and the University of Munich Deol For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem John is the author of than 50 books and than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at desiringGod John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren.Librarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name See this thread for information.


    437 Comments

    1. I love this book. So much here to encourage the soul that is downcast, to help comfort the hurting, to remind us that here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.


    2. All of Piper's biographical sketches are pearl. The conference version is available for streaming or download as MP3 for free at the Desiring God website.


    3. El primer libro que me viene a la mente cuando pienso en recomendar un libro a una persona que pasa por sufrimientos.


    4. Sometimes Christian biographies are daunting to me - I love them once I finally get started, but starting them is hard, especially since most Christian biographies I have read involve A LOT of suffering. I only started this one because a friend suggested we read it together (she's trying to read more Christian biographies too, and less fiction). But I'm really glad I read it. At first I thought, oh it'll be good to get a biography of not just one but three different famous Christians in one book [...]


    5. Outside of Scripture, my faith has been most encouraged by the stories of saints gone before me. This book is full of rich encouragement for those in Christ as Piper tells the stories of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd - all men who suffered in different ways, but looked to the same Savior in their affliction. It is the second book in a series called "The Swans Are Not Silent". When swans suffer, they sing sweetly. It seems ironic, but it's a small parable for the sweet fruit God [...]


    6. In the UK this book is called Tested by Fire, and it's very thought provoking and inspirational, especially for those who struggle with suffering, depression, doubt--and who doesn't, at some point in their life? Basically, it's three short biographies of the mentioned men, and then John Piper goes into what we can learn from their lives. It's somewhat weighty reading, with lots of quotations and extracts from 18th century works, but it's also fast-moving in terms of how short the biographies are [...]


    7. Especially in light of the things we all complain about these days, these missionaries' lives put our own in perspective and remind us of what we should be living for. Phillipians 1:21


    8. For the life of me I can't understand how someone can be a Christian and not love church history. The stories of how God has worked in the lives of our forefathers are always interesting, instructive, challenging and encouraging. John Piper has done the church a great service by writing his various biographical collections. But the blessing is not so much in recounting their stories. There are several good biographies of most of these peoplealready available. The strength of Piper's books are th [...]


    9. Three short biographical sketches are packed with poignant stories and quotes from the lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd. I was familiar with two of the men, but learned a great deal about them and the reality of their struggles from this short book. Here are a few thoughts from or pertaining to each of them:“Let me beg of thee, that thou wilt not be offended either with god, or men, if the cross is laid heavy upon thee. Not with God, for he doth nothing without a cause, [...]


    10. Three essays on the lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd. The common theme is suffering, and how specifically Christians suffer. One of the beautiful things about the church is that not only are there people we walk with now through life, but there are people both behind and before us. These "behind us" Christians are guides to which we can turn in times of trouble and be reminded that if God kept His promises to them even through their suffering, He will surely keep His prom [...]


    11. This book covers three men of faith: John Bunyan, William Cowper and David Brainerd. Before reading this, I was already quite familiar with 2 out of 3, because I've read John Bunyan's autobiography, "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners" and Brainerd's "Life and Diary of David Brainerd". While I was not as familiar with William Cowper, his constant depression and suicidal tendencies were familiar themes.This book provided an excellent overview of all three of these men. John Bunyan spent over [...]


    12. This is the second in a series of books called “The Swans are Not Silent.” In it, the reader is met with biographical accounts of three men: John Bunyan, William Cowper (pronounced Cooper), and David Brainerd. Their lives are intertwined by the thread of suffering for the Kingdom of Christ. Though each was called to suffer in different ways, each saw his suffering as God-ordained and orchestrated. As a result, the fruit of their suffering continues to this day! Let this serve as a much neede [...]


    13. Excellent biographical sketches of John Bunyan, William Cowper & David Brainerd. Reading of their sufferings & joy in Christ was inspiring. It made me want to read more about these men, especially Cowper & Brainerd neither of whom I was very familiar with before.Random bit of information - Cowper wrote the poem "The Castaway" that Marianne (Kate Winslet) makes Edward Ferrars read aloud in "Sense & Sensibility". - "No voice divine the storm allayed, no light propitious shone; when [...]


    14. This book is an absolute necessity for anyone suffering in the Christian life—or for any Christian at all. John Piper writes three short biographies about three men—John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd—that are both captivating and encouraging. The way Piper encapsulates their stories, drawing out the ways they suffered, the lessons they learned, and the fruit of their afflictions is enlightening, encouraging, and comforting. It is definitely worth your time to invest in this vo [...]


    15. This is a wonderfully encouraging and deep book about the lives of three of God's precious, though not flawless, heroes. Each gives the reader a taste of the life of one of those outlined, potentially serving as a doorway to further exploration in each case. Certainly the life of Brainerd, one of the most influential published journals in Christians and mission history, is worthwhile among these. Piper also admirably and beautifully ties these together with a brief epilogue of sorts at the concl [...]


    16. This book is extremely encouraging. It shows how each man, dealing with a completely different affliction, was able to continue in the good fight through God's grace. This does not mean that things got rosy after the trial in every case. In Buynan's case, he did get out of prison. But for Cowper and Brainerd, theirs did not end until they found themselves in the presence of God. So, Piper takes these life stories and weaves through them a high view of God's sovereign and merciful hand on each li [...]


    17. Three beautiful lives that encouraged me tremendously. I hope that I have the resolve of Bunyan to suffer as needed and the passion of Brainerd to seek God's glory among those who don't know it regardless the cost. This book was worth every minute spent reading and thinking about its content. To think I am the age that Brainerd was when he died, by modern standards I have done much with my life, but then I look to men like Brainerd and hope for the faith to be spent in gladness for His name sake [...]


    18. Ended up being close to my favorite out this "The Swans Are Not Silent" series, which surprised me. Bunyan's life is tremendous. Brainerd's life is motivating. Cowper's life throws me out of my traditional boxes that I can put people in. This entire series is well worth reading and this one in particular gives you a picture of suffering, especially suffering for which there seems to be absolutely no reason.


    19. Great series! This is the third of the "Swans are not Silent"books that I have read. Piper has written 5, I believe, and I do look forward to seeing the spiritual encouragement and truths that he will bring out of the lives of the other "Heroes of the Faith" that he writes about. His choice to focus on Bunyan, Cowper and David Brainerd in this volume was interesting. Bunyan's determination, Cowper's depression and Brainerd's sickness make for a challenge that none of us can escape.


    20. This book has a good message, but is somewhat difficult to read. Through suffering Bunyan gave us The Pilgram's Progress and other works of edification, Cowper gave us great hymns of solace, and Brainerd reached many native Americans for Christ and inspired many for missions. Most Americans have lost the art and joy of suffering for Christ.


    21. Three men who suffered tremendously in different ways, but found deep joy in Christ. I find myself inspired and challenged to engage with the Christian idea of dying with Jesus, keeping our eyes on eternal things and (in relative terms) hating our lives in this world. Again, Piper delivers an awesome read. Short, too!


    22. "The path to everlasting joy in God leads up the Hill Difficulty(John Bunyan), with deep & joyful worship(William Cowper), into an unreached world of pereshing sinners(David Brainerd), where the repentance of one soul set the angels of God to sing."The pebble has been dropped into the water and the wripple affect has not ceased.


    23. This book covered the lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd. I did not realize that Brainerd and Cowper suffered from deep depression during most of their lives. They were each successful in the task to which they were called. Each of the three men had major health issues. Bunyan was blind and Brainerd suffered from TB.


    24. Piper covers John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd in this book. His description of Bunyan was so encouraging that I readPilgrim’s Progress immediately afterwards and was totally blessed! The other sections were on the dry side.


    25. Drawn to the book because I wanted to read about William Cowper. Challenged to see how much growth is fortified through the crucible of affliction. The gospel is made all the more precious through trials and tribulations.


    26. Es asombroso ver como Dios a obrado en cientos de miles de cristianos a través de haber orquestado en sufrimiento de Bunyan, Cooper y Brainerd, creo mas profundamente ahora que Dios tiene todo bajo control, obra todo para su gloria, todo obra para bien a los que le aman. (Is 46:9-10)


    27. You would think by the title that this book would be a downer. On the contrary, it has to go down as one encouraging on I've come across in a long time. I read every chapter twice, it's that good! Can't wait to get my hands on one of the other books in the series :)


    28. I think this series is my favorite set of books by John Piper, though I've read quite a few of his books. This particular book is encouraging because it shows faith even in discouragement and depression, as in the case of David Brainerd.


    29. Encouraged once again. This one is about suffering of various kinds. Piper chose some gritty saints for the book, some of whom experienced a great deal of darkness and disbelief. It gives hope to those of us who don't always find that belief and obedience come easily.


    30. Piper does a nice job of highlighting the lives of these men and explaining why these men still have a profound effect on Christians today. Wonderfully concise biographies about men that a lot of us don't know too much about. Good stuff.


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