In the wake of For the Fame of God’s Name: Essay’s in Honor of John Piper, I’ve been hearing a lot about how Piper’s magnum opus, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, has been marked as the single most important book in the lives of countless individuals. I don’t know about you, but it was exactly that for me.
And apparently, there are many more like me. I didn’t realize that so many others have the same exact story as I do. The story seems to go like this: an older friend recommends the book to you (in my case, it was my college pastor Jordan Bakker). You start to read the book, and it both liberates you and rattles you. The idea that God demands that you find your joy in him frees you to pursue joy like you’ve always wanted to. You struggle against the whole issue of God’s absolute sovereignty for a while, and then, in a climactic moment, you cave under the weight of God’s glory manifested in it.
And then you have this sort of Edwardsian revelation:
From childhood up, my mind had been full of objections against the doctrine of God’s sovereignty…It used to appear like a horrible doctrine to me. But I remember the time very well, when I seemed to be convinced, and fully satisfied, as to this sovereignty of God, and his justice in thus eternally disposing of [dealing with] men, according to his sovereign pleasure. But never could give an account, how, or by what means, I was, thus convinced, not in the least imagining at the time, nor a long time after, that there was any extraordinary influence of God’s Spirit in it but only that now I saw further, and my reason apprehended the justice and reasonableness of it. However, my mind rested in it; and it put an end to all those cavils and objections. And there has been a wonderful alteration in my mind, in respect to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, from that day to this; so that I scarce ever have found so much as the rising of an objection against it, in the most absolute sense, in God’s shewing mercy to whom he will show mercy, and hardening whom he will. God’s absolute sovereignty and justice, with respect to salvation and damnation, is what my mind seems to rest assured of, as much as of any thing that I see with my eyes, at least it is so at times. The doctrine has very often appeared exceeding pleasant, bright, and sweet. Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God.
And once that happens, you’re changed forever.
That’s how the story goes.
There’s a whole movement of us young, restless, reformed guys who point to Desiring God as the spark that ignited our passion for the glory of God.
Are you one of them? What’s your story?