What do you read when you want to help someone who is depressed? What do you suggest they read to help themselves out of their melancholy?
John Piper has thought as carefully about these things as anyone in our day, and he gives us his conclusions in When the Darkness Will Not Life: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God-and Joy.
You can read the whole thing for free online here.
This is a short book–less than 70 pages of large, wide spaced text–that can be read quickly. It is as potent as it is brief, and I pray it will receive wide circulation. This is not pop-psychology, it is pastoral soul care.
Piper has the audacity to think that the great truths of the Christian faith apply to all of life–even when people are down. If you want to live like a worldling, don’t try to live on the faith when you’re depressed, and don’t bother with this book. Conclude with many that the Bible has nothing to say to you in such times (and don’t bother with books of the Bible like Lamentations or Job).
But if you want to live like a Christian and aren’t sure how Christians should respond to emotional darkness, read When the Darkness Will Not Lift. Then give it away to someone else, and keep another few copies on hand for your next encounters with depressed Christians.