Monday, 18 October 2010

Spurgeon on Suffering: Part 1

Those who are most qualified to teach us how to suffer as Christians are those who've suffered themselves. In this regard Charles Spurgeon is eminently qualified to counsel us in suffering. On top of a huge volume of public ridicule and slander, oposition, and calamities that he faced throughout his ministry he endured extreme physical suffering. He suffered from gout, rheumatism, and Bright's disease, alongside an ongoing struggle with depression. These were not short term issues but were storms that buffetted him repeatedly throughout his ministry. John Piper says; "...for over half his ministry Spurgeon dealt with ever increasingly recurrent pain [such as in] his joints that cut him down from the pulpit an from his labours again and again, until the diseases took his life at age 57..."
What then was it that kept him going in the midst of these various storms? One of the things that kept him persevering was that he recognised the utterly sovereign hand of a good and loving Heavenly Father behind all these things. They came from Him and were sent with a purpose for Christ's glory and Spurgeon's (and others') good. Hear what Spurgeon says:

It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity.

I am indebted to John Piper's biographical sketch of Suprgeon for much of this information and for pointing me to these quotes of Spurgeon. See: www.desiring