• 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
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Biographies & Memoirs, Religious
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (160 ratings)
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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.

What listeners say about The Hidden Smile of God

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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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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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Be still and know...

Be still, and know God through the lives of men who for the most part, we in the 21st century have no knowledge or basis from which to comprehend their lives. Piper blessed me with his scholarly research and testimony of these men's lives. Read it, hear it, and be blessed. More than that, be challenged about who we are and what we're willing to sacrifice in order to know Christ and the power of the resurrection.

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So Good

This is book two, and it was a great one. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to relate to a book as much as I did this one. Also such a Faith stirrer. If you are ready to dive deep in your Christian walk or just love history, or both! This book is for you!

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what a book

every Christian should read this. it is inspiring and helpful to see how godly men of old have handled pain. I thought I had it bad till hearing what they went through

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Inspiring stories

Great stories of men of faith and their struggles. you doubt often hear about how people deal with pain. I liked hearing that the Christian life can be difficult.

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water in a dry land

This book is an excellent reminder of God's sovereignty and blessing in hardship. Thank you for wise words of truth, Mr. Piper.

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amazing! eye opening

God moves in mysterious ways could be one way to describe this book. or God used the weakness of man to show his strength.

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  • K. J. Bute
  • 10-20-19

Historical Background

I found it very helpful to understand the historical context of these giants of faith, together with their vulnerabilities. With my failing brain I would have liked a very short summary at the beginning to orientate myself to what followed

1 person found this helpful