Spurgeon’s Sorrows

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:18-19

Charles Spurgeon was a famous British preacher in the 1800’s. He was dubbed “the prince of preachers” and is believed to have preached to over 10,000,000 people in his lifetime. He was also an author of 140 books, devotionals, magazines and hymns. His body was often wracked with painful gout and other physical conditions. During one of his services, a stampede occurred, when a person yelled “fire”, leaving 7 people dead. This seemed to be a pivotal moment in Spurgeon’s life. Despite his amazing success on earth, Spurgeon struggled deeply with depression.

One of his famous quotes was “Fits of depression come over the most of us. Cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy. There maybe here and there men of iron, to whom wear and tear work no perceptible detriment, but surely the rust frets even these; and as for ordinary men, the Lord knows, and makes them to know, that they are but dust. Knowing by most painful experience what deep depression of spirit means, being visited therewith at seasons by no means few or far between, I thought it might be consolatory to some of my brethren if I gave my thoughts thereon, that younger men might not fancy that some strange thing had happened to them when they became for a season possessed by melancholy; and that sadder men might know that one upon whom the sun has shone right joyously did not always walk in the light.”

Another quote “Some minds appear to have a gloomy tinge essential to their very individuality. Of them it may be said, “Melancholy marked [them] for her own”; fine minds withal and ruled by noblest principles, but yet they are most prone to forget the silver lining and to remember only the cloud.”

Spurgeon understood and embraced his depression even when the world criticized him for it. He understood that ministry could be draining and that Satan attacks those who fight for the cross. It is so important that we pray for our pastors and the work ahead of them. It is important that we encourage, lift up, and walk along side our pastors in unity. We should not stand around, and walk in and out of a sanctuary without first giving part of ourselves to the work of the Lord. Faithfulness to the Lord is quite important, but we miss out on a blessing when we only look to feast, but never look to serve.

During our service to the Lord, we should never be surprised when the haunting of sadness falls on our shoulders. Zach Eswine wrote a book called “Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope For Those Who Suffer from Depression”. This book delves into the importance of understanding that depression in itself is not a sin. It is a “thorn in the flesh” to some, and a “blessing in disguise to others”. In the church, we need to be more aware of those who struggle with forms of mental illness. It is not mastered in one battle, but can be fought daily throughout our lifetime. No matter what, Jesus is the only cure to as Spurgeon called it “the dark night of the soul”. God bless you friend.

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