So far, I've read through the introduction (the biblical theology of suffering) and the first section about John Bunyan. In 1672 in Bedford, England, Bunyan was released from 12 years of imprisonment; Piper quotes from Bunyan's writings, he found prison to be a painful and fruitful gift. . . .12 years in prison- a fruitful gift? Bunyan tesified that God enabled him to survive and flourish in jail-the visible world died to Bunyan and he learned "to live upon God that is invisible"- hmmm, I'd best muse on that for awhile. . . so, Piper details Bunyan's life, explores his affliction and then poses the questions, "What was its fruit? What did it (affliction) bring about in his own life and in the lives of others?"
A few weeks ago John and I watched a DVD movie of The Pilgrim's Progress (a modern day retelling);for me, one of the greatest scenes in Bunyan's classic is when Christian and Hopeful, perishing in Doubting-Castle, remember the key which unlocks the door to the dungeon of despair. Piper notes that Christian found the key in his chest pocket, or in his chest, meaning that he had hidden God's promises in his heart by memorization-a timely personal reminder. . .
. . .in the end, I decided to share a different book with my friend (more on that later)- however, The Hidden Smile of God has been a treasure in my backpack this week- numerous times, over coffee, I've shared its truth and encouragement.
Nothing glorifies God more than maintaining our
stability and joy when
we lose everything but God. (Piper)