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The Cry of the Soul: How Our Emotions Reveal Our Deepset Questions about God

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  967 ratings  ·  92 reviews
An excerpt from the foreword by Joni Eareckson Tada: "With the book you are holding, you have stumbled upon the best of guides. I should know. I first read The Cry of the Soul decades ago when I was still sorting through a lot of hurt and frustration connected with my quadriplegia (yes, I read it on that music stand holding a mouth stick). The Cry of the Soul showed me wha ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published December 2nd 2015 by NavPress Publishing Group (first published 1994)
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Steve Lee Sr
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Avoid the pain!

Anger, fear, jealousy, despair. These are bad emotions, right? These are emotions to be avoided at all costs, right?

I discovered a few years ago that I was a really angry person and that I hurt people when I was angry. Solution? Avoid anger no matter what.

Not so fast! Allender and Longman point out that emotions are God-given, a gift from our Creator. And while it is true that our emotions have been corrupted by our sinful nature, they actually have a divine purpose. Cutting ourse
Sarah Street
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An intense and thoughtful look into the dark emotions that reveal the true direction of our hearts, examined with a perfect marriage of the fields of clinical psychology & theology. Anger, fear, jealousy, despair, contempt, and shame--six emotions that, through this book, we are asked to view openly and honestly in order to usher our souls into reality, to find out who we really are. A soul-crushing read in all the right ways.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I can't say this was fun to read. It really wasn't. It was very hard, like an emotional workout for my soul.

I read this book because I tend to run away from negative emotions. I wrestle with the why and the how, and I thought this book would help answer some of my questions and point out what hope there is in situations that seem hopeless to me. It did and it didn't in a way. There are no clear cut answers. Basically, the book can be summarized by saying that
A. Pain (and negative emotions) are
Cole Brown
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A simple read that offers a profound look I to our dark emotions (anger, anxiety, jealousy, contempt etc...) and to the God who allows us to experience them. Allender and Longman show that these emotions reveal what we are thinking about God, drive us to God and, yes, even reveal something of God to us. I have read many books on difficult emotions and this is by far the most insightful and most helpful I have found.
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me, and while it took me a long time to get through, I did value the content. There were particular chapters that spoke to me more than others, but the overall message is important--our emotions reveal something deeper about ourselves and God's relationship with us. I underlined quite a bit and will be referring back to this book in the future. ...more
Beth Peninger
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

A dear friend messaged me one day, "Beth, I'm sending you a copy of one of my favorite books. It really spoke to me, hope it will for you too."
And then I received this title in the mail from said dear friend. It coincided perfectly with another friend and I's plans to read through the book of Psalm together in 90 days.
I'm in a season and it isn't one of laughing and external joy. Timing really is everything and this book - and how I read it at a snail's pace - spoke to some of the sam
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As part of a class I'm taking on Human Personality, I had to read a Christian counseling book. I, somewhat randomly, chose this one and I'm so glad I did. The book is rich with scripture and theology. Using scripture, the authors show how our emotions were created by God, are a reflection of his image in us, and ultimately teach us about his character. They walk through both wrong and right versions of anger, fear, jealousy, desire, despair, contempt, and shame. They show how emotions are never ...more
Leandro Dutra
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I will need to read this again, on paper. I read an electronic edition that wasn’t perfect, and while perfectly intelligible it did add some difficulty and distraction to an already challenging text.

At times I wished the authors could be clearer, but never that they could be deeper — this text indeed goes to the depths of our anguishes as revealed both in the Psalms and in current human experience.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it liked it
The first few chapters were the strongest, in my opinion. Important teaching on what our emotions have to say about God and how God meets us even in the midst of raw emotions.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
The first few chapters were good and then the book trailed off in quality and clarity. I appreciated the overall structure and main points but the execution of the writing left a lot to be desired.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
pg 127 No one on the face of the earth is called to enter the soul of my wife as I am. No one is privileged to be a companion who knows, shares, and delights in the deepest parts of her soul as I do. And if I fail, then no other can succor the would in comparison to my repentance.
This is not to imply that others, both male and female, are not to play a rich role in nurturing and enjoying my spouse. Frankly, to the degree that I love her well, she will be free to enter into various relationship
Catherine Blass
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anger
"The Psalter invites us to feel emotion without immediate resolution. It not only permits dark emotions; it demands that we be overwhelmed by what we cannot control or change. Oddly, it is in our helplessness to change what unnerves us, in our cry of desperation, that we hear the song of eternity coursing through us even when we are dead to hope.

"Listen: it grows. The music comes when it is least expected, least deserved, least understood. It is the faint sound that allures us to continue on the
Kirby Whitehead
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book endeavors to process negative emotions as existential questions to God, and does so through the lens of the psalms. It was a fun and at times challenging read. I wish it were a bit more technical and in depth, as I would like to learn varying interventions for clients based on the principles. Perhaps reading it again might help me familiarize and synthesize some of the thoughts though....
Emma Kendrick
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
emotions are good. you should feel them. even the hard ones.
Seth Gibson
This is an arduous read in terms of what it produces in the reader. To grapple with anger and to come to know that anger as sometimes righteous and other times unrighteous, can be a real trial. I took this read with me as I went throughout my days it definitely lead me to stand up for values that I hold important. For instance, as a co-worker inconsiderately played his music loud enough to be a distraction at the office, I felt the boldness to go to his desk and ask that he lower his music. He j ...more
Melisa Blankenship
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a bit disappointing. I like the idea of this book, the idea set forth in the title.

Most of the content didn't deal with the fabric of human emotion and how that connects us to God, ministry, or other believers. It was touched on near the beginning and near the end. However, most of the chapters dealt with specific emotions, alternating between a negative way of experiencing a specific emotion and a divine way of dealing with them. The negative chapter usually circled around to idolatry
Jason Kanz
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Talk of emotion often makes Christians squirm. We may give a nod to emotions, primarily to acknowledge our need to keep them under control. Whether stated or not, too many Christians operate from the assumption that a godly person is one who suppresses negative emotions. Positive emotions are accepted, but only if they are not too extreme. In other words, for many, the Christian is to be a thinker, not a feeler. But the Bible is a book filled with emotion.

In their excellent book The Cry of the
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! This book was better than I anticipated. I was worried it might be sappy or overly sentimental, but it was a hard hitting book about emotional responses to difficult realities everyone faces or fears to face. It showed the sinful side of our emotional responses, but then also showed how the same emotional responses are given to us as image bearers of God and stripped of sin can be used for others' good, our good and God's glory. Beneficial for the under emotional, over emotional ...more
Annie Monson
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, christian
How recognizing our painful and darker emotions (anger, fear, jealousy, despair, shame, contempt) invites us to struggle with God, and ask our deepest questions about Him. And how in our wrestling, God meets us, revealing His character, goodness, and love. Where we often ignore, relegate, or discredit our emotions, here the authors ascribe significance to them, as “the language of the soul.”
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Undoubtedly the best book on Christian living that I have read in the past year. This book doesn't celebrate emotions as such, but teaches (largely based on the Psalms) that negative emotions are a window into our hearts and what we really believe about God. Reading this has profoundly affected my thinking about relationships and my own heart, and I predict that the contents of the book are going to continue to influence me in a huge way the more I ponder them. ...more
Andrew Micah
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are a few unhelpful sentences scattered throughout this book, but a generous helping of profound insights. Was hoping for more modeling of how to read the Psalms exegetically. The point about shame being connected to what we worship was incredibly important and resonant with Scripture. Allender's insights into the inner-workings of the mind and heart in relationship to God are magnificent as always. ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. Simultaneously I was reading "None Like Him: 10 Ways that God is Different than Us" and together they danced together in my heart and mind teaching me all sorts of lessons that "reveal that often our attempts to control our emotions - far from an attempt to be Christlike-are really a form of rebellion against God or an attempt to flee from Him-actually can reveal in a very graphic way where we are in our relationship with God."

I will be rereading this one for sure and re
Paul Varela
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book that helps one to understand the importance of emotions.

I have gave this book five star because I loved how the author explains the human emotions and connect them to God. Many would say that emotions are a bad thing. Which I do agree to some extent you do not want them to take the steering wheel of your life, but God also created us to feel. The book drills Home the darkness that one can feel at times, yet how God remains faithful. It gives description on how God uses our feelings
Rev Ricky
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Our emotions are gifts from God to teach us about ourselves, our world and God himself. The Psalms teach is how to pray our emotions and know God more intimately through those prayers.

Allende and Longman take us through several emotions contrasting how the can be destructive or deeply helpful. I recommend this book highly to anyone who doesn’t understand the role anger, sadness, loneliness, fear or the other “dark” emotions plays in our prayer life.
Becky Baud
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
PLEASE READ! 10/10 recommend. This book also changed my life and completely transformed the way I view and deal with negative emotions. I was recommended this book by a therapist and the Lord used it to do a work in my heart. I haven't read the full book because a pastor encouraged me to read it more like a reference book for whatever emotions I was currently working through. The emotions dealt with include anger, fear, envy/jealousy, despair, contempt, and shame. ...more
Tristin May
Mar 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If you work with people in any capacity, this should be required reading. Incredible perspectives on how every emotion 1. Invites us to know the character of God and 2. Has 2 sides of it that it can play out in our lives - in a holy way or a unholy way. Loved how it defined every emotion too - we tend to lump them all up as bad & don’t really pay attention to what they are individually...Will definitely read again.
Robert Turnage
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I know this is an old “classic” of theirs, but finally discovered this brilliant book by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman. Every chapter is so dense you find yourself highlighting every line. One big idea that recurs throughout the book is how God uses our very human emotions to be a reflection of his own character. Highly recommend.
An Te
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
A wonderful book of Psalms that represent every human emotion and feeling. The Psalms have been instructive to bring all our burdens, our emotions to the one who made us. Dan and Tremper have done a good job of bringing together all that the soul needs when trouble comes. And even when it does, God transmutes suffering into joy.

A solid practical meditation on the Psalms.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-favorites
One of the most important books I have ever read. It invites us to wrestle and question and feel every emotion in an effort to know God and it does not shy away from the harsh realities or questions. It is an invitation into truth and life with God in all of its fullness in a way I have seldom read or seen.
Peter Dray
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A helpful biblical treatment of dark human emotions, drawn mainly from the Psalms. We need not deny or suppress these painful emotions - or write them off as ungodly - but, rightly felt, draw us into life with God. Whilst I have some questions about the writers' anthropopathic statements around God's own emotions, there is good pastoral wisdom here. The chapter on shame is excellent. ...more
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Dan B. Allender, Ph.D, is a fly fisherman who also serves as president and professor of counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School near Seattle, Washington. He is a therapist in private practice, and a frequent speaker and seminar leader. Dan received his M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University. He is the author of To Be Told: ...more

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70 likes · 12 comments
“Ignoring our emotions is turning our back on reality; listening to our emotions ushers us into reality. And reality is where we meet God.” 2 likes
“The absence of tumult, more than its presence, is an enemy of the soul. God meets you in your weakness, not in your strength. He comforts those who mourn, not those who live above desperation. He reveals Himself more often in darkness than in the happy moments of life.” 2 likes
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