I have a friend who was born in 1834. That would make him 183 years old. He went home to be with Jesus in 1892 – at the peak of his ministry and in the prime of his life. I have often asked why God takes the heroes of the faith so soon – Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan, and John Calvin all died in their 50’s. David Brainerd and Jim Elliot died before they reached the age of 30. While the question is interesting to ponder, the question is not ours to ask. Enter the Creator —
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2, ESV).
“You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great” (Job 38:21, ESV).
“And the LORD said to Job: ‘Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it’” (Job 40:2, ESV).
I have been learning from my friend, C.H. Spurgeon for nearly 25 years now. He has taught me many lessons. He introduced me to Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, a book he read over 100 times in his short life. Spurgeon has taught me the importance of expositional preaching. On many occasions, he has reminded me about the importance of the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching, not to mention living the Christian life. He has inspired courage and conviction and prompted me to be unwavering, even in the darkest of days.
But one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from my British friend is how to deal with melancholy. Zack Eswine helps highlight some of those lessons in his book, Spurgeon’s Sorrows. The subtitle accurately reflects the basic theme of the book, Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression.
Spurgeon’s Sorrows is arranged in three parts. Part One walks readers through the basics of depression. What is it? How can one recognize it? What is spiritual depression? Part Two presents a path for helping people who suffer from depression. And Part Three is a practical section that offers practical assistance for dealing with depression.
Chapter nine is worth the price of the book as the author directs readers to the promises of God and shows how Spurgeon utilized this habit of claiming the promises of Jesus in his daily walk with God.
Spurgeon’s Sorrows is a short book filled with biblical counsel for people who battle depression and provides help for anyone who is reaching out to folks who are wading through the Slough of Despondence. In the final analysis, readers are encouraged to cling to their Savior who promises to walk with them through every valley.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” (Psalm 23:1–2, ESV)