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The world is full of dark places that present obstacles to our joy. While people may instinctually turn to films, games, or social connections to brighten their day, Christians know they have a greater source of comfort and joy. In Joy in Dark Places, Thomas Parr reminds us that the Bible speaks of glorious realities that the darkest days cannot destroy. Readers will see how moral evil, calamity, and even bad theology steal our happiness. More importantly, they will see how the light of the gospel dispels disquiet and brings profound joy instead.
Table of Contents:
Joy and Obstacles to It
Joy despite God’s Judgments in the Earth
Law and Conviction Necessary for Joy
Joy despite Fears of Spiritual Deterioration
Joy from Empowerment and Even Chastening
Joy from the Bible’s “Works-Oriented” Statements
Joy in Renouncing All Forms of Legalism
Joy by Quieting Your Conscience in the Cross
To Have Joy You Must Have Faith
To Have Joy You Must Obey
Joy in God Incomprehensible
Joy and Problem People in the Church
Joy in Old Testament Promises to Israel
Joy at the Prospect of Growing Old and Dying
Biblical Joy versus Cheap Joy
Joy Even When Society Disintegrates
Joy at the Last Judgment: Looking Forward to a Judgment of Our Works
Conclusion: Our Joy and God’s Glory
Thomas Parr (ThM, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary) is a Reformed Baptist pastor serving in Anacortes, Washington. He is a contributing editor to the Lexham Context Commentary and author of the volume on the Gospel of Mark in that series.
“Some people tell us to rejoice always because they think that our choice to rejoice will make us healthy and wealthy. Other people talk about joy as if it were heavenly escapism performed by ignoring pain and stoically pressing on. But Thomas Parr shows us that true joy—biblical, emotional, doxological joy—can be found in the hard realities of a sin-cursed world because Christ died a sin-cursed death, rose again, and is working all things for the glory of God. This is an important book that can transform for good our entire concept of joy and, by implication, how we respond to the hard times of life.” — Joel R. Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“The Bible speaks of joy as one of the fruits of the Spirit, and thus all Christians should know something of it. Yet many struggle to find and experience joy. Thomas Parr has written an admirably simple yet instructive book about joy, which has its fount in the redemption of our triune God. He also provides sage counsel on how to find and hold on to joy even in dark places and times. With the help of this book, readers will have a better understanding of how to find joy in our faithful covenant Lord in times of plenty and in want.” — J. V. Fesko, Harriet Barbour Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi
“Many of us have known, if only briefly and seasonally, the ‘dark places’ of which this book speaks and can testify to the difficulty of finding joy there. But armed with the biblical truth of God’s steadfast love and a robust doctrine of providence, we can find joy in the darkest of places. Thomas Parr has given us a parachute that will equip us well for the darkest periods of life. Short and to the point, each chapter examines different situations including, I surmise, ones all too familiar to the reader. A gem.” — Derek W. H. Thomas, senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia South Carolina; chancellor’s professor, Reformed Theological Seminary; and teaching fellow, Ligonier Ministries