Even Spiritual Giants Get the Blues

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was one of the greatest preachers of his day.  At the age of 20, he became pastor of a rapidly growing church and he regularly preached to thousands.  His love for God and His Word continues to minister and exhort today, as his writings are still on the shelves of pastors and layman everywhere.  But Spurgeon also suffered from often debilitating depression.  You can read more about this depression here.

ERunner, over at More Than Coping posted this quote yesterday, and I thought I should share it here as well. It is a great comfort to me to know that a man so mightily used of God suffered with depression also, and his words about depression are as true today as they ever were.

I know that wise brethren say, ‘You should not give way to feelings of depression.’ If those who blame quite so furiously could once know what depression is, they would think it cruel to scatter blame where comfort is needed. There are experiences of the children of God which are full of spiritual darkness; and I am almost persuaded that those of God’s servants who have been most highly favoured have, nevertheless, suffered more times of darkness than others.

The covenant is never known to Abraham so well as when a horror of great darkness comes over him, and then he sees the shining lamp moving between the pieces of the sacrifice. A greater than Abraham was early led of the Spirit into the wilderness, and yet again ere He closed His life He was sorrowful and very heavy in the garden.

No sin is necessarily connected with sorrow of heart, for Jesus Christ our Lord once said, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’ There was no sin in Him, and consequently none in His deep depression.

I would, therefore, try to cheer any brother who is sad, for his sadness is not necessarily blameworthy. If his downcast spirit arises from unbelief, let him flog himself, and cry to God to be delivered from it; but if the soul is sighing–’though he slay me, yet will I trust in him’–its being slain is not a fault.

The way of sorrow is not the way of sin, but a hallowed road sanctified by the prayers of myriads of pilgrims now with God–pilgrims who, passing through the valley of Baca [lit: of weeping], made it a well, the rain also filled the pools: of such it is written: ‘They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.’
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1881, vol. 27, p. 1595


4 thoughts on “Even Spiritual Giants Get the Blues

  1. You keep posting Rachel! Soon you will be writing and I can steal more of your articles! Now about that finders fee……. :mrgreen: God bless!

  2. (Originally posted at More Than Coping)

    In his book, “Lectures to My Students,” Charles Spurgeon has a chapter called, “The Minister’s Oft Fainting Fits,” dealing with depression in the ministry. His honesty cut across the mindset of the day which was largely to ignore depression, or dismiss those who suffered as “ye of little faith.” Unfortunately, those days are not over.

    Sad to say, I have been to pastor’’s conferences where the standard operating procedure was “everything is good; no problems,” when the truth was clearly otherwise.

    The real reason we don’t share our difficulties and struggles is that we are afraid the people will think less of us; and, much to my great sorrow, that is too often the case.

    I have never known a minister, if he is honest, that hasn’t struggled with depression in one way or another. For years I suffered from shame, thinking that there was something wrong with my relationship with God because I struggled with depression. Then I read “Lectures to my Students.” If the prince of preachers suffered from depression, then I was not alone.

    Hopefully someday the stigma of depression will be removed and all of us can honestly share our struggles with each other and pray for each other.

    I still suffer with depression and probably will until I go to be with my Savior. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

  3. Over the years, I have been encouraged knowing that such great men have suffered with melancholy and depression.

    As was mentioned in the previous post, “The Minister’s Fainting Fits” is the most read chapter in my copy of Spurgeon’s “Lectures To My Students”.

    I also lean heavily on 1 Corinthians 10:13:

    No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful…

    We all go through many of the same things, and are not alone in our unique sufferings, but God is faithful.


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