• The Hidden Smile of God

  • The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd
  • By: John Piper
  • Narrated by: Bob Souer
  • Length: 3 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (263 ratings)

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The Hidden Smile of God

By: John Piper
Narrated by: Bob Souer
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Publisher's summary

When Augustine handed over the leadership of his church in AD 426, his successor was so overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy that he declared, “The swan is silent”, fearing the spiritual giant’s voice would be lost in time. But for 1,600 years Augustine has not been silent - and neither have the men who faithfully trumpeted the cause of Christ after him. Their lives have inspired every generation of believers and should compel us to a greater passion for God. 

John Bunyan suffered long-term imprisonment, even when a simple promise to cease preaching would have freed him, and was moved to rely on God even more. William Cowper, despite month after month of debilitating depression, wrote poems that reflected the sustaining character of God and led him to worship more deeply. David Brainerd so desired to honor God that through the loneliness of wilderness ministry and the agony of tuberculosis, he pressed on, transforming world missions forever. 

In this noteworthy Swans Are Not Silent book, John Piper invites you into the lives of Bunyan, Cowper, and Brainerd to discover how God takes the privilege of faith and strengthens it with trials so that we experience a greater hunger for him. The perseverance of these godly servants exemplifies the essential fruit that affliction can produce in your own life. Their enduring faith will fortify you in your suffering, reminding you that “behind a frowning providence, God hides a smiling face.” And their stories and witness will inspire in you a similar passion for the supremacy of God in your life.

©2008 John Piper (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Every Christian needs to read this book.

I just finished this book, The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd, by John Piper

Having recently re-read Pilgrim's Progress, this book title grabbed my attention.

John Piper did his research and provided great insight into these very humble men of God. Bunyan, Cowper, and Brainerd each were refined in the fire of their different sufferings (imprisonment, deadly depression, and mortal illness). The result of their sufferings was purified faith that produced gold treasures that have helped and influenced countless people around the world for hundreds of years.

My faith was strengthened by learning more about these great saints of old. Learning about their suffering and how near to God they were through those times was valuable. Christians today are undergoing the greatest amount of persecution in the history of the world.

It's going to get worse. In the US, the media and entertainment continually denigrate and ridicule Christians. I've been called a flat-Earther by a progressive friend because I rely on the Bible for truth. (BTW, the Bible taught the true nature of the universe thousands of years before man's science figured it out.) But this constant denigration is exactly how Hitler began his evil campaign to murder anyone who contradicted his opinion. This constant denigration and intolerance is how evil convinced citizens of his nation to hate and turn on their neighbors, simply because they were Jews, people of color, homosexuals, disabled, and anyone of faith or political persuasion that didn't agree with his view.

Bottom line: every Christian should strive to know God as deeply as these men. In persecution or suffering of any kind, we lean on the sufficiency of Jesus Christ for everything. In temporal hardships a Christian's faith can flourish, and we can testify to God's sovereignty and abundant grace.

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REALLY encouraging while in suffering

I loved the idea of this book that God ordains suffering the way He gives blessings. Wow!

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Great stories about great saints

I was very blessed by learning more about these great saints of old. To learn of their suffering and how near to God they were through those times is very precious.
I would more highly recommend this book as an audible if it weren’t for the reader sounding like one of those recorded messages that are computerized. It was difficult to stay focused because of this. Nevertheless, John Piper truly did his research and gives us great insight into some very humble men of God. We should strive to know God as deeply as these men, yet some of us do all we can to avoid suffering.

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Very inspiring

This book encouraged my heart and strengthened my faith. It caused me to rethink my priorities and consider the way I spend my time and treasure.

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Examples of godly men who encountered sufferings and struggles while being children of our great King & Savior

Thanks John Piper for showing us that being in Christ will at times include hardships.
Great read when we find ourselves struggling.

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Encouraging for those that wrestle with hardship and Depression.

This is primarily a history book about three great men of God who suffered from great hardship and depression. It is an incredibly encouraging book for Christians who suffer from depression and physical hardship. It’s not a hard book to understand and I highly recommend it if you deal with depression or are looking for answers as to why God allows his people to face suffering in general.

Blessings,
Pastor Paul Trimble

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Food for thought

I really liked this. I appreciated the message from three of the pioneers of our faith. It made me think about suffering for Christ and the purpose it has.

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The Hidden Smile of God

This book gave me a whole new perspective on mental and physical illness and how to continue to walk in Gods purposes. A thought provoking book. Will listen again and have to take notes. This is not a book to dismiss lightly.

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What a great example of men of Faith

John
You have given us a great overview of these 3 saintly men & how they allowed Hod to work in & direct their lives, Yhanks

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God smiles on earth in Jesus

What a wonderful job John Piper does in his biographical books about these wonderful examples of Christian faith in these men. God bless you John in your ministry. I’ll be listening to these audiobooks again.

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