Few books have so exceeded my expectations, so filled me with joy, so met me with comfort, and so stirred my wonder before the LORD as Andrew Peterson’s book Adorning the Dark.
I’ve listened to Peterson’s music fairly consistently for the last few years. I actually encountered his work when I was much younger through a sale at a local Christian bookstore. One of his albums was on sale alongside a Michael W. Smith album, and, since I knew Smith’s name more than Peterson’s, I made sure to choose the latter album and left the former to my brother. At that point, Peterson’s name didn’t mean much to me. But after listening to his music these last few years, his name holds weight in my mind. He’s proven faithful time and again to capture the Christian life in song, to mix words and melodies that reflect the sorrow, struggle, doubt, delight, joy, and wonder present in my soul, and he does it better than anyone else I’ve heard. He’s been an encouragement in my walk with the LORD through many seasons. So when I learned he was releasing a book on the artist’s life, I was incredibly excited.
I waited until last semester ended to begin the book, and the wait made reading Peterson’s book a refreshing break after a long season of study. I struggle to put my response to the book into words, but the closest I can come is “thankful.” Reading Peterson’s book is like having a conversation with an old friend. It’s like sitting at the feet of a master to learn a craft. It’s like being taught and ministered to simultaneously. In this way, Peterson’s work is not unlike that of Jesus, who both instructed and served, both led and loved, those who listened to him.
Peterson writes with humility, reverence, and wit. He knows his limits and knows his God, and he can describe both in ways that sticks with the reader long after the book is closed. There’s an authenticity with Peterson that shines through every page. He writes as one who has a lot of experience but who is nonetheless still learning, and he gives enough of his own story to strike a chord without ever distracting from his ultimate subject, the LORD. He makes you want to be better, to work harder, to pursue the LORD with greater devotion, and to proclaim more boldly the goodness of God.
Adorning the Dark speaks to artists, but, as Peterson explains, it therefore speaks to all of us. All of us are artistic, employing the gifts of the Holy Spirit in this world in unique ways and fulfilling diverse callings for the glory of God. Peterson addresses technical aspects of making, and he does so masterfully, but he writes more to change the reader than to change the reader’s habits. And he succeeds magnificently.
Please go read this book. Be encouraged, be challenged, be comforted, be filled with wonder. Then take up your pen, guitar, spade, spatula, or whatever tool you use in your work, and work to reflect the Maker, to adorn the dark for the glory of the Light of the world.
Photo by kilarov zaneit on Unsplash
Check out Andrew Peterson’s book here.