Christians are not immune to experiencing emotional struggles. Sudden tragedy, constant struggle with ongoing sin, failure to look successful, and controversy or scandal in the church can all cause depression and disillusionment. When I feel downcast, I turn to three books for wisdom. These three books offer a grand vision of God, a realistic understanding of the Christian life, and a clear message of God’s grace, all of which can really help the depressed and disillusioned regain a sense of God’s goodness and mercy.
The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification by Walter Marshall
Walter Marshall is an enthusiastic and wise pastor who reminds us of God’s grace in a very personal way. This book is raw and direct about the grace of God in Jesus. It shows what every Christian needs to know to experience God’s mercy. This is a book for sinners who need a great savior. When I need to remember that God is gracious—even to me, and even at my worst—I turn to The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification. Walter Marshall believed what he taught, and what he taught was the gospel without additions or confusions.
The Marrow of Modern Divinity by Edward Fisher
The Marrow of Modern Divinity is simple and engaging. It is set up as a dialogue between a pastor and three confused Christians. The pastor explains how to live by faith and what it means to obey God’s law. This book can help a Christian navigate the deep waters of gospel confusion found in every generation.
Communion with the Triune God by John Owen
I was hesitant to recommend Communion with God by John Owen, but recently Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor edited a new edition with the above revised title making it more readable. (There is also an abridgment published by Banner of Truth.) Communion with the Triune God shows how to experience God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as three distinct persons who have a relationship with us. Here, Owen explains how the Trinity is practical: Christians can take comfort in knowing they have fellowship with each person of the Godhead in daily life and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit continually care for their souls throughout all the ups and downs of this world.