When I Don’t Desire God by John Piper
I hope you will not be offended if I open this book by praying for
you. There is a reason. When all is said and done, only God can
create joy in God. This is why the old saints not only pursued joy but
prayed for it: “Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us”
(Ps. 90:15). To be satisfied by the beauty of God does not come naturally
to sinful people. By nature we get more pleasure from God’s gifts
than from himself. Therefore this book calls for deep and radical
change—which only God can give.
But if I didn’t believe God uses means to awaken joy in himself, I
would not have written this book. I hope you will read it and that the
eyes of your heart will be opened to the infinitely desirable Person of
God. He made himself known in his Son, Jesus Christ, who “is the radiance
of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3).
Seeing and savoring this glory is the spring of all endless joy.
Someone asked me why I didn’t put Chapter Twelve at the beginning
and then proceed to solve the problem. The title of Chapter Twelve
is “When the Darkness Does Not Lift.” The reason is that I am helpless
to solve that problem. But God can. And he will, in due time, for all who
have tasted his saving grace. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy
comes with the morning” (Ps. 30:5). And when it comes, it comes from
God, not from this book. Chapter Twelve is at the end because when I
have done all I can do, the darkness may still not be lifted. I hope you
will not despair but will turn to God in prayer. Which is what I do now
Father, I pray that all who’ve read this far will have the motivation
and the strength to read on to the end at least as far as would be help-
ful to their faith. I pray that they would read with understanding. And
may they be discerning so that, if I have blundered, they would be
sure to see the error and not follow me. Protect them from the evil
one who would distort and then deceive. Give great assistance from
your Spirit, and may they see more truth than I have seen. Oh, that
the eyes of their hearts might be bright with the glory of Christ
through these pages! Remove every blinding obstacle, and show
them your glory! And thus give them more joy than all the gladness
that the world can give. And by this joy in Jesus Christ, fit them to
love and serve and sacrifice. And by this joy, with which they bear
their cross, Lord, cause the earth to know what you are truly worth.
In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.