God’s Heart Recommends: “Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints who Struggled with Depression and Doubt” by Diana Gruver

Book Recommendation: Must Read.

Before you read the rest of this review, stop what you are doing and listen to Tuesday’s episode of “The God’s Heart Podcast” where Katie and Jonathan had an incredible discussion with the author of this book recommendation, Diana Gruver.

Now that you have listened to the Podcast,

God’s Heart is pleased to highly recommend to you Diana Gruver’s book: “Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints who Struggled with Depression and Doubt.” There are a number of reasons one would want to read this book, we will start with the content.

Gruver has done her homework and is careful to not make diagnosis based on our modern understandings but rather puts each of these seven saints into their historical context through extensive reading of primary sources. Saints we have always considered larger than life become human to us in a way in which a new generation can identify and learn from them. While Gruver makes it a point to mention their accomplishments she does so while reminding us that they were, in fact, human. Some might think that their struggles with what we call depression and doubt will “take away” from their accomplishments, but seeing how they relied on Christ and his blessings, even in the darkest of places, will encourage those who have long struggled with depression. These seven saints, Martin Luther, Hannah Allen, David Brainerd, William Cowper, Charles Spurgeon, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr are important figures in Church History who struggled with the same doubts and fears we still struggle with today and trusted God through it all. As a Historian I find the details we do not always get to read about in histories and biographies, this insight helps give us a more rounded view, and corrects the record that gets distorted by the myriad of hero stories that follow these men and women.

Another aspect of this book that stands out is the interspersing of Diana’s personal story and testimony throughout the story as she teaches us what each of these Saints can teach those of us who are find ourselves struggling with depression. Diana not only tells the stories of these saints, but through telling us her story throughout the book, she helps us see how their struggles are relevant to our relationship with Christ as we struggle with the darkness. It would have been enough to just tell us about the historical figures, but Diana goes the extra mile, sharing with us the details of her own struggle and walk with God through times of deep depression. On top of all this, Diana offers an important corrective and wisdom for the church in how we can better address mental health issues in the area of depression and doubt.

Of all the books written this year that have sought to correct the record or reveal the flaws in our understanding.  “Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints who Struggled with Depression and Doubt” belongs alongside books like “The Making of Biblical Womanhood” “Jesus and John Wayne” “A Church Called Tov” and “The Great Sex Rescue” and Diana Gruver belongs alongside the authors of these books: Dr. Beth Allison Moore, Kristin Du Mez, Scot McKnight and Shelia Gregiore,

We pray God uses this work to encourage you and uplift you and we highly recommend buying this book and reading it, for through the lives of these saints you will find glimpses of your own and encouragement for your struggles.

The God’s Heart Team.

This Book is available wherever books are sold, including Amazon, Audible and the IVP Press Store.

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