The Hidden Smile of God
The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd
Only available in paperback. The 2nd volume in John Piper’s The Swans are not Silent series – a biographical series focuses on men whose faith God strengthened with trials, to shape servants whose worship and witness was filled with a supernatural passion for His glory and truth. This volume covers the lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd.
John Bunyan: He suffered imprisonment for twelve years, even when a simple promise to cease preaching would have gained him freedom. But Bunyan’s steadfast belief that God ordered every trial would not allow him to relent, and moved him to rely even more upon “Him who is invisible.”
William Cowper: Even when his own sky was filled with clouds of dread, Cowper’s poetry was a reflection of the sustaining character of God–music for the mind that led him to endure, and to worship more deeply.
David Brainerd: So great was Brainerd’s desire to honor God that he joyously cried, “Oh for holiness! Oh, for more of God in my soul! Oh this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God.” Through the loneliness of wilderness ministry and the agony of tuberculosis, he pressed on, transforming world missions forever.
Great privilege. Great pain. God’s design. This is God’s way: to take the privilege of faith and strengthen it with trials so that we can worship and witness with a greater passion for God.
- Introduction: Where the Fruit of Affliction Grows
- “To Live Upon God That is Invisible”: Suffering and Service in the Life of Bunyan
- “The Clouds Ye So Much Dread Are Big with Mercy”: Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Life of William Cowper
- “Oh, That I Might Never Loiter on My Heavenly Journey!”: Misery and Mission in the Life of David Brainerd
- Conclusion: A Plea to Follow in the Fruitful Wake of the Suffering Swans
About the Author
John Piper is founder and teacher of Desiring God and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of more than 50 books, and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free of charge at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noël, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren. Besides The Roots of Endurance he has written numerous other biographical volumes.