4 out of 4 stars
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In Songs in the Night: How God Transforms Our Pain to Praise, Michael A. Milton offers biblical insight for Christians dealing with heartache. With pastoral compassion and personal illustrations, Milton addresses issues ranging from physical illness and traumatic memories to challenging relationships and depression. He provides scriptural references that encourage readers to find God's comfort amid the pain and to recognize its transformative power.
This 294-page book is well written, organized, and exceptionally edited. The book contains many examples from scriptures, but Milton's pleasantly conversational writing style keeps the content engaging and approachable for Christians in various stages of their spiritual journeys. For those who appreciate an in-depth study, he includes Bible verse references, questions for reflection, notes, and recommendations for further reading. Although the book primarily targets Christian readers, Milton's transparency about his painful past and acknowledgment of present-day "thorns in the flesh" may also appeal to spiritually curious unbelievers.
I was hooked when Milton quoted one of my all-time favorite authors, Brennan Manning: "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 darkness." Milton described how the phrase "doxology in darkness" impacted him; he knew he wanted to write a series of messages on the theme that he called "songs in the night" and eventually edited for the book.
What sets this book apart from similar scripture-based books is that Milton not only acknowledges spiritual depression, but he also cites biblical and historical examples of those troubled by it, such as David, Elijah, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I particularly like his sensitivity in dealing with the subject and his distinction that hope in God's sovereignty is not simply a matter of thinking happy thoughts: "I can't give you a twelve-step guide to avoiding spiritual depression or a three-point message on getting rid of it, because the Bible doesn't do that." Instead, Milton reminds us that God is still there, and he illustrates signs of healing through examples from the Psalms while offering encouragement that depression can be the very thing that leads us to worship.
I honestly can't name anything I dislike about Songs in the Night. I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. Due to Milton's sensitivity and uplifting writing style, I recommend it to both Christian readers and spiritual seekers. The book is also ideal for personal or small-group Bible study. However, I would not recommend it to readers who dislike reading scriptures.
Songs in the Night
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