Spurgeon’s Sorrows by Zack Erswine (book review)

Charles Spurgeon is one of my favorite preachers and writers. He was definitely God’s gift to his  generation. Fortunately, his sermons and books can still be checked out today. They are well worth checking out as they are rich in biblical truth. As impactful as he is, he is still a mere man who struggled with depression. So when I heard how this book discusses that in detail, I knew I had to read it! That being said, here’s my thoughts.

What I enjoyed about “Spurgeon’s Sorrows” is that displays Spurgeon in a different light. Yes, he is highly regarded as a tremendous preacher but here, he is shown more sympathetic manner. This book makes it distinctly evident that he struggled with depression, especially in ministry. Great detail is given in Spurgeon’s depression and how he brought it up in his sermons because he knew that there were hurting church members. As church leaders, it is important to learn to suffer along with depressed congregants who usually feel intimated to share with them. Sadly,  many leader’s have erred in handling it appropriately by just telling them to snap out of it. Yet it does more harm than good. But Spurgeon’s vulnerability allowed people to see that they are not alone in their struggle and that is key for pastors to do, to become wounded with the wounded.

In closing, I enjoyed this book. It is not a “how to” book, rather it discusses the experience of someone who’s been there, a man of God no less. Moreover, we have a Savior who knows and relates to our pain. Yet He is also our hope. So please read this book, and read it alongside with someone. It is meant to be shared.  As dark as depression may be, you are not alone. And there there is light, The Light, at the end of the tunnel.

Notable quotes (Spurgeon quotes included)

“The mind can descend far lower than the body, for in it there are bottomless pits. The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in ten thousand ways, and die over and over again each hour.” -Charles Spurgeon

“It is Christ and not the absence of depression that saves us. So, we declare this truth. Our sense of God’s absence does not mean that He is so. Though our bodily gloom allows us no feeling of His tender touch, He holds on to us still. Our feelings of Him do not save us. He does. Our hope therefore, does not reside in our ability to preserve a good mood but in His ability to bear us up.”

” In contrast to those who would tell you to get stronger and plead your strengths with God,Charles counters and tells us the opposite: “Let your weakness plead with God through Jesus Christ.”

“No matter how deep you fall, grace goes deeper still. “What was under Elijah when he fell down in that fainting fit under the juniper tree? Why, underneath were the everlasting arms.” No matter how far you fall in your depression, “the eternal arms shall be lower than you are.” -Charles Spurgeon

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