In the pursuit of joy through suffering, we magnify the all-satisfying worth of the Source of our joy. God Himself shines as the brightness at the end of our tunnel of pain. If we do not communicate the He is the goal and the ground of our joy in suffering, then the very meaning of our suffering will be lost. The meaning is this: God is gain. God is gain. God is gain.
Few would mine the treasure that is Desiring God if the preceding paragraph was at the beginning of the book rather than on the last page. Theologically deep, spiritually demanding, and rich in transformational thoughts, Pastor John Piper’s most challenging book requires an intellectual commitment from the reader that is contrary to the majority of non-scholarly Christian books on the shelves today. To place the most personal challenge anywhere but at the end of the journey would frighten away those remaining souls who will invest the effort needed to comprehend the notion of Christian Hedonism and then apprehend the application to their lives.
The concept of Hedonism in a Christian sense is not without its detractors, many on the grounds of terminology alone. Piper, however, makes an outstanding case in support of the pursuit of happiness in God with Him as its foundation. As His people pursue, apprehend and praise Him for their happiness, God’s joy is elevated. In His delight He desires more of the glorification that comes as His people experience more of the joy that is derived from their relationship with Him in all of its contours. Desiring God seeks to give the reader scriptural arguments to not only show that this is true and right, but also to enable the reader that joy comes in many forms, including some that we don’t normally identify as its source.
For twenty five years, Desiring God has found its way onto must-read lists as an important contribution to the spiritual formation literature. Like all things worthwhile, it requires effort to read and commitment to apply. The book does not invite a casual approach. It must be read in short segments, allowing plenty of time for meditation and the examination of scripture. Desiring God offers the greatest benefit to those readers who will pick it up again and again as one’s relationship with God grows and the ideas can be read through more and more mature eyes.
Read this book. Read it alone or with a study group. Find the joy in all aspects of your life and allow Dr. Piper to guide you to see how that simple act glorifies God. As you begin to understand His joy in you and your pursuit, you will find that you cannot get enough and that the passion for His glory will rule your life.