Faith for Future Calamity

Faith for Future Calamity

Between the ages of 6 and 18, young John Piper attended White Oak Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He and his family made White Oak their church home while John’s father was on the road frequently as a traveling evangelist.

John would preach at the church on a Sunday morning only one time — on New Year’s Eve, 1972. At the time, he was a doctoral student in New Testament at the University of Munich, Germany, home for the holidays and to share the joy of their first son with family.

What remains from the sermon on suffering — “Your Calamity in 1973” — are handwritten sermon notes, now transcribed and added to the DG resource library, making it the second oldest sermon in the archive.

“When I think about what to pray for, or resolve, in 1973,” he says in the sermon, “I can’t bring myself to ask for a placid life with no ripples or whirlpools. I don't know if God’s will for me is ease and smoothness. But this I do know: it is God’s will that every one of his people in 1973 rely on him more fully, delight in him more intensely, praise him with greater zest and deeper steadfastness, and all of this in the midst of our calamities in 1973, so that thereby the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ will be manifest to the world.”

The sermon on calamity proved to be a personal preparation for John and the Piper family. In attendance was his mother, Ruth Piper. Within two years after this sermon on suffering, on December 16, 1974, she would be tragically killed in a highway bus accident at the age of 56. This was the last sermon she would hear from her son.

You can read the sermon notes here.


The oldest Piper sermons in the archive:

  1. John Piper's Senior Sermon at Fuller Seminary (March 24, 1971)

  2. Your Calamity in 1973 (December 31, 1972)

  3. John Piper's Candidating Sermon at Bethlehem Baptist (January 27, 1980)

Tony Reinke is a content strategist and staff writer for Desiring God and the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (2011) and John Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (2015). He hosts the Ask Pastor John and Authors on the Line podcasts, and lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and their three children. He also blogs at tonyreinke.com.