A Doxology in the Darkness: How God Transforms Your Pain into Praise

“To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that all things which fall out shall co-operate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more; this may fill their hearts with joy till they run over.”—Thomas Watson (c. 1620-1686)[1]

The following is a sample chapter from the upcoming book, A Doxology in the Darkness: How God Transforms Your Pain into Praise by Michael A. Milton (P&R Publishing), © 2010 Michael A. Milton and P&R Publishing, all rights reserved.

Listening in on the Most Amazing Prayer Ever Prayed

“What people still need to hear more than anything else is that  God loves them.”[2]

John Guest said that and I believe this plain but poignant insight is unassailably true. And in John 17.20-26, one may come to see the love of Jesus Christ in the most personal way.

Today I believe that there are those reading these words that desperately desire to know that truth, to have that assurance of God’s love, of God’s presence, of God’s power. There are those who want to trust in Jesus—that he is there in your marriages, that he is there in your parenting, that he is there in your days in school, that is there in your aging, in your relationships, in the deepest part of your life when no one else is around. Yes, for some of you simply need to know that he is there.

Let me not waste any time answering that question. He is there. For that is the testimony from beginning to end in the Bible. The truth is that even when it seems like He isn’t there, He really is! Sometimes He is most there when it seems he that He is mostly not. When we know that we begin to sing through the sorrows. We begin to get a glimpse of Christ’s glory and we are led to have our hearts “staggered by the mystery of the ways of God”[3] as James Stewart put it. I know this without a shadow of a doubt, for it is the very inerrant and infallible Word of God for us as we read from the Old Testament, in Psalm 18.18, then Isaiah 42.16 before finally turning to the Gospels, and one of the most amazing prayers ever prayed, in John 17.20-26.

Psalm 18.18, 28

They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the lord was my support.  Psalms 18.18

For it is you who light my  lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.  Psalms 18.28

Isaiah 42.16

And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. Isaiah 42.16

John 17.20-26

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, John 17.20 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 21 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 22 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 23 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 24 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 25 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” 26

Clarity? Or Trust

The brilliant ethicist, John Kavanagh, went to work for three months in the “house of the dying” in Calcutta seeking for answers on how to spend the rest of his life. Mother Theresa was still alive then, carrying the crippled, pouring oil onto the wounds that would never heal and giving dignity to a people are called outcasts. John Kavanaugh, on his first day there, went to Mother Theresa. “And what can I do for you?” She asked. Kavanaugh asked for prayer. Mother Theresa asked, “What do you want me to pray for?” The scholar replied, “Pray that I have clarity.” She said firmly, “No, I will not do that.” In surprise to this abrupt answer by this tiny Albanian nun, John Kavanaugh said, “Why not?” And Mother Theresa told him, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” The man said that she seemed to have clarity and understanding in abundance. And he wanted it, too. She laughed and said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”[4]

“I will pray that you trust God.”

That is the exhilarating invitation to each of us today in our lives: not find clarity, but absolute trust in the One who prayed for you. There is your answer. There is your hope. There is your today and your tomorrow and your reconciliation for your yesterdays. “Trust,” not clarity, not figuring it all out, not getting your answers that you feel you must have, but knowing the One Answer you really need.

How do you get that trust?  “Go the Bible, you are going to say.” Right you are.  But let us go to one particular place, one holy place to find that trust, to receive the embrace in that Scripture of what I have often called it:  The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.[5] Let us go to the high priestly prayer of Jesus.

John 17 is called the high priestly prayer of Jesus[6] for He prays for His people prior to going to the cross to die for them and atone for their sins. The prayer contains some of the most extraordinary revelation in all of the Bible. Many have tried to plumb what are really the unfathomable depths of meaning in John 17, but all are left with the observation of MacClaren:

“We may well despair of doing justice to the deep thoughts of this prayer, which volumes would not exhaust. Who is worthy to speak or to write about such sacred words?”[7]

I once toured a cavern in Tennessee (actually while on my honeymoon with Mae!), and while there the docent pointed to a stream, gurgling eerily through the underground cavern. With her voice echoing through the cavern she whispered, “This stream runs so deeply that only God knows where its origin is!” Well, so too, the Word of the Lord in this magnificent passage of John 17 whispers heavenly words that echo in our souls. For this prayer of our Lord runs so deeply that we can never fully grasp such love, such intimacy with His Father. So understanding, “clarity” if you will, must yield to trust. And trust is another thing all together.

I want to show you that Jesus’ prayer is that you will trust in Him. I do not use the word, “believe” though that is the word we use in John 17.20. He prays for those who will believe. But I use the word trust. In the Greek New Testament there is one word used whether our English puts it “believe” or “trust.”[8] We have, I think, abused the word believe. We live in a culture where to believe in Jesus has possibly become something different than the New Testament usage of the word. There to believe is to be aware of your powerlessness and helplessness in the face of your sinful condition and the fallen condition of the world. And it is, as the late theologian Richard Niebuhr puts it, not only to acknowledge the historical person of Jesus but His “authority” over all of your life.[9] It is to transfer your trust from anything or anyone else to Jesus Christ alone.

But my concern this morning is how you come to do that. And taking into consideration that are probably thousands of reasons that could keep you from receiving His authority over all of your life, I want you to see John 17 and verses 20-26. For in these verses, it is clear that something amazing is at work and it is this: Jesus has already taken the first step towards you.

And I make my main proposition as clear as I am able: You can trust in Jesus for Jesus has prayed for you to trust in Him. He did this in three remarkable ways in this passage.

1.  It is remarkable that Jesus prayed for you before you were born.

This is what is meant in this passage when we read that Jesus says, I pray not only for these but also for those who will believe through their testimony. In other words Jesus was praying for people who had not been born yet!

And so, too, did this God say to young Jeremiah:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1.5

This, likewise, accords with Paul in his letter to Ephesians:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love Ephesians 1.4

he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will —  Ephesians 1.5

Our Savior, too, is praying for his little ones not yet born. Now that sounds funny perhaps, except when you know that all of the time, I do that and you do that. I recall so vividly one time in my pastorate when we had several couples that were expecting at the same time. I was praying for two families expecting their child through the wonder of adoption. I was also praying for couples that were expecting a child the “other way!” But let us consider, for a moment, the couples waiting on God’s choice for them through adoption. They were praying for the child that God has chosen for them before the foundation of the earth. They were praying for safety in birth, for divine guidance in the whole matter of the paperwork through the state and of course for the day when that baby would be placed in their arms. At that moment, it would not matter what had gone before. All of the waiting, even the pain they have experienced as a couple, was going to evaporate in the presence of the heat of love and the first cry of their new child for food and for touch and for love. We were all praying for someone not even born.

This is what Jesus was doing. And after this prayer, and after looking over a city that would reject Him, and riding into a city on the back of a donkey, hearing cries of Hosanna which would become cries of “Crucify Him!” Jesus counted it all worth it. He counted it all worth it because He loved His little ones. He loves you.

And you can trust our Lord, no matter your pain, no matter the pain you see in the world, because He first loved you. He loved you before you were born.

Now in this passage, we see that Jesus not only prayed for you before you were born, but another thing:

2. It is remarkable that Jesus prayed for you before He died for you.

This prayer happens prior to the Crucifixion. And to know this is important. It is important that you know that you were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and that Your Savior called out your name to His Father in his life. And therefore His death is for you. The NIV Study Bible note puts it every so plainly and ever so true:

“All future believers are included in this prayer.”[10]

Leon Morris, perhaps one of the greatest expositors of John’s Gospel wrote:

“The prayer marks the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, but it looks forward to the ongoing work that would now be the responsibility first of the immediate disciples and then of those who would later believe through them. Jesus prays for them all.”[11]

He prayed for you, trusted in one day possessing you and therefore He died for you. He did not die and then beg you to believe. He chose you, He prayed for you and then He died for you. Your salvation is not dependent upon your choice of God but His choice of you.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15.16

“… no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”  John 6.65

Now these are amazing words with mysterious meaning. But rather than theorizing about the mystery let’s see the practical power of this truth. That Jesus prayed for you before He ever died for you means the end of despair for you who are struggling to find faith; for you who are longing to trust. For you who have been abandoned by family, hurt by friends, brutalized by the rat race, or deeply moved by a world of suffering and pain, this Jesus is already on your side. He does not require that you get those questions answered and then come to you. He comes to you in the midst of the pain and loves you. You come then when you know that love. That is what I want to preach to you most today: the love of Jesus that would love you and pray for you and value you above His own prerogatives for divinity; above His own sinless life. He was willing to be handed over to evil men, to be ridiculed, to be abandoned by God on the stinking and smoldering landfill called Calvary so that He might save those He loves.

To know this and experience this prayer of Jesus for you, will not only set you free who are longing to trust Jesus, but will bring happiness to sad hearts of disciples who have forgotten the wonder of His love for you.

Brenning Manning in his book Ruthless Trust tells of a time when he was speaking in 1999 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He had addressed faculty and students about the grace of God in Christ, focusing on the love of Jesus. The next day a distinguished faculty member came to him. She told him and told him this:

“At one point in my life I had a faith so strong that it shaped the very fiber of each day. I was conscious of God’s presence even in stressful situations. The fire of Christ burned inside me. Slowly, though, and almost imperceptibly…” and she told how that fire had gone out. She told how academia and life and stuff just crowded out trusting in Jesus. After a moment she continue, “After you spoke on the love of God last night, I cried for an hour. My life is so empty…I’m like Mary Magdalene in the garden crying, ‘Where has my Beloved gone? I miss God so much that sometimes I feel frantic. I long for the relationship I used to have?”[12]

Do you feel like Mary Magdalene, “Where has my Beloved gone?” The truth for you is the truth for that great Biblical figure: Jesus Christ is alive. But He died and rose again not to beg you to accept Him. While you were still a sinner Christ died for you. And before He died for you He even prayed for  you. You can then trust Him or trust Him again. Your Beloved is here.

Now all of this in John 17 comes down to this: Jesus not only prayed for you before you were born, and before He died for you, but…

3. It is remarkable that Jesus prayed for you though today some of you do not want to pray to Him.

You see you have yet to come to realize what Jesus Christ already plans for you. What I must make clear to you from this passage is that your unbelief or your lack of trust does not intimidate God nor will the Father deny Jesus’ prayer for you to trust in Him because now you are in sin, or you or confused, or you have troubles of the soul. No my beloved, God is like Michangelo who saw Davids in rocks when others only saw boulders.

This whole magnificent chapter is about the step that God has taken to you before you ever took a step at all. He chose you, He loved you, He prayed for you, He died for you and He believed in you.

The Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthazar stated:

“We need only to know who and what we really are to break into spontaneous praise and thanksgiving.”[13]

This is not man-centered narcissism, it is God-induced wonder at a love like no other. I don’t have to agree with the rest of this man’s theology to see that he got this one truth exactly right.

David has this wonder of how God loved him. David, in his sin and his shame and his failures, could yet exclaim:

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…  Psalms 139.14a.

Or as Eugene Peterson paraphrases it:

I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!   Body and soul, I am marvelously made!   I worship in adoration—what a creation!  Psalms 139.14[14]

Now let us be clear. The answer to the prayer of Jesus is not related to your intellectual prowess or good breeding to be able to come to Him. No. He trusted in His oath and covenant and blood. He trusted in the design of His heavenly Father who chose you in love. He knew His mission on earth and on the cross would be successful because the Spirit would regenerate your dead spiritual heart and cause you to pant after Him. Again, this trust is way beyond anything you could imagine. It is rooted in the divine love of God for Himself and thus for His creation. That is the force of this great chapter. But when you know that He trusts in you, He loves you, it does something. It transforms you. Jesus’ trust that you will be His transcends your circumstances, which seek to resist or oppose that love.

The Devil in the Book of Job is saying to God, “Sure, old Job is a fine specimen of a godly man now, but just let him lose everything! Then the truth will come out! He is only as good as the blessings. When they go He will go.”[15] But God trusted in His own plan for Job and could thus trust that nothing would separate Job from God. Not even heartache. And in the midst of all of the Hell that Satan could send, at the end of all of the shallow theology of his so-called friends who told him that “you are in this fix because of your sin” Job shouted out the trust that was born out of God’s Word to Him:

“Oh that my words were written!  Oh that they were inscribed in a book!  Oh that with an iron pen and lead  they were engraved in the rock forever!  For I know that my Redeemer lives,  and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed,  yet in* my flesh I shall see God,  whom I shall see for myself,  and my eyes shall behold, and not another.  My heart faints within me” (Job 19.23-27).

I often illustrate what I see in Scripture from my own life because I know that best! I can never forget a little congregation down the road from us who called themselves The Tabernacle. These folks were from many different churches and they had built a small chapel made of pine gathered from the thick woods there in South Louisiana. And they would gather on Wednesday nights to sing, and preach and to pray. What connected them to my life was that they believed the Lord wanted my father saved. His life at that point was almost at an end, ravaged by alcoholism. I knew they were praying for him for often when my Aunt Eva and I would walk down that gravel road on summer evenings to go to the services on Wednesday nights. I remember the sawdust in my nose, and mosquitoes on my legs! But I also remember that after the accordions and guitars and piano stopped and we had sung the last verse of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” the plumber-lay preacher, Mr. DeValle, would begin to pray. And my father’s name went up to the Lord for healing. Those prayers eventually drew my father into that little rough-hewn tabernacle. And those prayers eventually fulfilled the prayers of Jesus for my father as one night he agreed to come with us. I shall never forget when he fell down on his knees besides me and pled for Christ to forgive him. The little congregation of farmers and gravel pit workers and housewives and bare-foot children all gathered around my weeping father, laid hands upon him, and he came to Christ. Within only a few months I would stand and watch the rain fall upon his gray casket. But because of the prayers of that little band of believers, I knew then what I know now: I will see my father again. My father did not pray. He was prayed for. But those prayers led him to his knees and led him to the arms of His Savior. My father had given up on God. But God never gave up on my father.

My friends, Jesus will not give up on you. He has prayed for you. He did not give up on Saul of Tarsus in his sin, thought even when Saul became the Apostle Paul, even Christians couldn’t believe he was the real deal. Jesus never gave up on him. He saw what he would be because He prayed for Him.

And I don’t care if today you are too far-gone in the minds of some. You are not too far-gone for Jesus if He has prayed for you. The sin of your alcohol may have destroyed your liver and your relationships, but Jesus prayed for you! He trusts in you when no one else does! Your infidelity may have destroyed your marriage, but God led you here to hear that Jesus has prayed for you and He will build a life out of the ruins of your sin or someone’s sin against you! He believes in His power to save and His certainty to draw you to Himself more than you do and more than others do because He loves you and He chose you in love! You are a child that has a self-image of a loser, of a troublemaker and you may have lost and your pain and your sin and the devil himself may have trapped you and you are troublemaker. But Jesus sees a saint being born again out of a sinner.

The prophet Zephaniah wrote:

Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. Zephaniah 3.19

Jesus prayed for you, and whatever your shame, through Christ and His cross, it is turned by faith into praise.

“Is there no broken music?

So if you are fearful of trusting or perhaps feel unable to trust, this is your day. Because to listen to Jesus praying for you tells you that He has taken the first step to you because He loves you. He prayed that you would hear and believe, before you were born, before He even died for you, and yes before you even trusted in Him. And so you can, no matter what is facing you, you can trust in Him.

Yet how do you respond if you are gripped by fear or trapped in sin? Or addicted? Or lost in your pain?

I read again from Brennan Manning’s stirring book of his own experience of Christ in the depths of alcoholism and depression, Ruthless Trust:

“To be grateful for an unanswered prayer, to give thanks in a state of interior desolation, to trust in the love of God in the face of the marvels, cruel circumstances, obscenities, and commonplaces of life is to whisper a doxology in the darkness.”[16]

“A doxology in the darkness:” what a wonderful way to describe what Jesus brings to those who trust Him in the inexplicable mysteries of life.

Dr. David Calhoun, Professor Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, is one of the greatest church historians in our generation. He has struggled with cancer for two decades. In his chapter called, “Poems in the Park: My Cancer and God’s Grace,” Dr. Calhoun relates how he has learned, in his extended time of cancer and treatments and ups and downs, to go to poetry, to sing with his imagination and his spirit, if you will, with others who have sought God in their own trials. And so the chapters are filled with Donne, and Yeats, and Herbert, and Cowper, and Eliot and Dickenson and C.S. Lewis. But the poem that touched me was the one by Nicolas Wolsterorff, Lament for a Son. After losing his boy to a mountain climbing accident, Woterstorff sought comfort in music. And he wrote,

“The music that speaks about our brokenness is not itself broken. Is there no broken music?”[17]

And the answer from God’s Word is that “there is no broken music. The music that speaks about our brokenness is absolutely un-broken.” There are “doxologies in the darkness” all through Scripture, particularly in those Psalms called Psalms of lament. I have heard intimations of these Psalms, this “un-broken music,” this hopeful music, as I listened to the songs of faithful people I have observed in our own lives. I heard the “un-broken music” in Haitian refugees singing “Great is His Faithfulness” as they gathered for worship on the first Sunday after that devastating earthquake, as they gathered outside of the crumbled cinder block houses where their own children were perhaps buried in the ruble. This is not human. This kind of things is something out of this world. I have seen “doxologies in the darkness” as I have sat with a prominent woman in the Church who had led a board through a difficult time and she told me of sleepless nights, agony over the trials of betrayal, and the heartache of a trust lost. Yet, in tears, she praised God for the hardships that had led her closer to Christ. As a pastor, I have heard the “un-broken music” coming from my friend, Ted Mills, as I held his hand and prayed with him as he was rushed into the hospital and told that the pain he was experiencing was a stomach cancer. He told me, “Mike, if this is it, then I am ready to go! I am ready to be with Jesus! But  if He wants more of me here, He will heal me. Pray that I can be faithful to praise Him and sing His praises and be His witness to all of the staff here.” He spoke those words through extraordinary pain. I remember my friend, Rody Davenport, with stage four cancer being told to go home from the hospital because there was nothing left to do. When he came back into the room from a test, I was waiting on him. I gathered with his wife and daughter-in-law around his bed. He was smiling. He couldn’t speak because of a tracheotomy, so he used a voice machine. His first words were “Mike I am glad you are here. Praise the Lord.” In fact, his spirit was so exuberant, I thought I was the one with the problem because I had never been around a happier man! I conducted a little service, right there in the hospital and that room became a sanctuary. For our spontaneous worship service, I just began singing “Blessed Assurance.” Somewhere as we got to “this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long,” Rody on his voice machine, mechanically, beautifully, poignantly, weakly and yet so very powerfully started singing too.

“Un-Broken music.” A “doxology in the darkness.”

Why do I tell you these stories? Because I believe they illustrate how God brings us to trust Him. He does it not by our expectations for the Messiah we think we want. But from the far reaches of doubt and despair that leads us to the Savior we need. We best believe not from our positions of strength, but out of weakness. We even cradle our weaknesses—the broken dreams, the unexpected illness, the abandonment, and the failure—because in our weakness we see the heart of God. In our weakness in sin, we see a Savior who prayed for us, died for us and rose again for us. And it is in His life, His prayer for us, His trusting heart for us, that we come to know that we can trust Him or trust Him again.

So whatever you think is keeping you from Jesus is likely the thing that He is using to bring you to Him. You see this is possible, because of the deep, deep love of Jesus.

For so we read in John 17. He prayed for you. Will you now trust in Him that today His prayer is answered once and for all in your life?

Will you pray with me, even now as you are reading these words?

As you pray, I want you to name the pain. I want you to name the sorrow, even if that sorrow is a fear to follow. And I want you to name before Jesus right now as we pray:

“Lord, I thank you that you are for me and not against me. I thank you that the things that I have named can not keep you from me or me from you, because You have prayed for Me. Lord, I thank you for the Cross, where pain gives birth to the heart and plan of God, the resurrection of Jesus. And I ask you, who have prayed for me, to come and open my heart and help me to believe in You, to trust in you like never before, and to follow You like never before. I know You will answer this prayer for I pray in the Name of the One who has prayed for me, even Jesus Christ. Amen. And Amen.”

Endnotes


[1] Thomas Watson, “A Divine Cordial,” (Internet Christian Library, 1663). http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-10/web/watson-cordial.html.

 

[2] Personal reference, but also the premise is not only exhibited but propounded very well indeed in John Guest, In Search of Certainty (Ventura, CA, U.S.A.: Regal Books, 1983).

[3] James Stewart, James Stewart: Walking with God, ed. The Revd Gordon Grant (Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 2006).

[4] Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust : The Ragamuffin’s Path to God, 1st ed. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000).

[5] Michael A. Milton, Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus: Expository Messages from John 17 (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2007).

[6] Though some prefer “the prayer of consecration.” See Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1995).

[7] Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture (Accordance Bible Software, n.d.).

[8] Pisteuoœ: to entrust to another. See the word appearing in The Analytical Greek Lexicon; Consisting of an Alphabetical Arrangement of Every Occurring Inflexion of Every Word Contained in the Greek New Testament Scriptures, with a Grammatical Analysis of Each Word, and Lexicographical Illustrations of the Meanings. A Complete Series of Paradigms with Grammatical Remarks and Explanations,  (London,: Samuel Bagster and sons; reprint, Accordance Software); Milton.

[9] H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture, 1st ed. ([San Francisco]: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001).

[10] Leon Morris, “John,” 17.10 in Kenneth L. Barker, The Niv Study Bible, Accordance 8.4.6 ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2002).

[11] Morris.

[12] Manning, 18.

[13] Ibid, 27.

[14] See Eugene H. Peterson, “Psalm 139.14,” The Message: Psalms (Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 1994).

[15] See Job 1.7-11.

[16] Manning.

[17] Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1987). The reference is also found in Dr. Calhoun’s essay, “Poems in the Park: My Cancer and God’s Grace,” in Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, Suffering and the Goodness of God, Theology in Community (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008).

References

Guest, John. In Search of Certainty. Ventura, CA, U.S.A.: Regal Books, 1983.

Maclaren, Alexander. Expositions of Holy Scripture: Accordance Bible Software, n.d.

Manning, Brennan. Ruthless Trust : The Ragamuffin’s Path to God. 1st ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000.

Morgan, Christopher W., and Robert A. Peterson. Suffering and the Goodness of God Theology in Community. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008.

Milton, Michael A. Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus: Expository Messages from John 17. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2007.

Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1995.

Niebuhr, H. Richard. Christ and Culture. 1st ed. [San Francisco]: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message : Psalms. Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 1994.

Stewart, James. James Stewart: Walking with God, Edited by The Revd Gordon Grant. Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 2006.

Watson, Thomas. A Divine Cordial: Internet Christian Library, 1663. http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-10/web/watson-cordial.html.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Lament for a Son. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1987.

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About Michael Milton, Ph.D.

Michael A. Milton, Ph.D. (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David's College), is an American Presbyterian pastor, theologian, and author. He is, also, an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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