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Review: Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for Those who Suffer from Depression

 

Spurgeons Sorrows

When he was only twenty-two years old, Charles Spurgeon’s preaching was interrupted by a prankster shouting, “Fire!”  Thousands of listeners panicked, killing seven people and seriously injuring twenty-eight.

This trauma plunged Spurgeon into a deep depression that recurred throughout his life and ministry.   Instead of hiding his struggles, Spurgeon often mentioned his anguish, both to help fellow sufferers and to give insight to their caregivers. By God’s grace he was able to insist to his generation and ours that the sorrowing have a Savior.   He wrote:

Broken hearted one, Jesus Christ knows all your troubles, for similar troubles were his portion.

In Spurgeon’s Sorrows Zack Eswine, himself a pastor who suffers from depression, shares  Realistic  Hope for Those who Suffer from Depression using insights gleaned from Spurgeon’s preaching and writing.

Eswine has grouped these insights into three sections:

  1. Trying to Understand Depression,
  2. Learning How to Help Those Who Suffer From Depression,
  3. Learning Helps to Daily Cope with Depression

He discusses each topic as a fellow sufferer, showing the misery and emptiness, the hopelessness, weight, and darkness that is depression.  He also shares the comfort that can be found in the Bible—although not every suffering Christian will always be able to accept it as being personally relevant.  He also offers practical help for sufferers and their caregivers.

This book is full of compassion and understanding.  It brings comfort rather than the accusations that Christian depressed people sometimes are forced to bear on top of all their other burdens.  It reminds sufferers that their salvation does not depend on how they feel but on Jesus Christ’s suffering and death.

Spurgeon also addressed caregivers.  How can those of us who support depressed people be helpful and compassionate instead of hurting our loved ones even more?  This book also discusses a difficult question that has been haunting me, “How can one use the Bible and God’s promises in a way that is helpful to a depressed one, not hurtful?”

In God’s providence, I read the chapter on suicide during the many hours it took to have a loved one admitted to hospital.  It explained to my heart the devastating truth that I knew with my mind, that for some people, at some times, life seems blacker and bleaker than death.  The Bible talks about some of these people:  Job, Elijah, David and others—just read through the Psalms!

I recommend this book to all those who support depressed people.  I do not know if it would help depressed people or not.  There is much comfort and hope here, but perhaps the knowledge that Spurgeon suffered his whole life long would be too discouraging for those who still hope, someday, to be free of depression.

If you are depressed, or if you are supporting a depressed person, I want to remind you that

We plead not ourselves, but the promises of Jesus; not our strengths but His…. Our hope is not the absence of our regret, or misery or doubt or lament, but the presence of Jesus. “Doubting Castle may be very strong, but he who comes to fight with Giant Despair is stronger still!”

May God bless you all, whatever your circumstances may be.

This is yet another book in the in the 2015 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and is also linked to Saturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook

For more encouragement, visit Raising Homemakers, Titus 2 Tuesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Mom to Mom Monday, Monday’s Musings, Missional WeekendR&R Wednesdays, From House to Home, Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Mondays, Faith Filled Fridays.

Disclosure: I received a review e-copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews and have shared my own honest opinions.

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4 Comments

  1. Candace says:

    This is definitely going on my to read list. Pinning! I have struggled with depression for many years and am really trying to reach out to help others now. I think this is a great fit for me. Thanks so much for your review and recommendation! So glad to find you at Create With Joy’s Book Nook.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Candace, I pray that this book will help you personally and will also help you reach out to others. God bless you.

  2. Jedidja says:

    Dank je wel! Dit lijkt me een erg goed boek. Ik ga kijken of het in het in Nederlands vertaald is. En anders ga ik kijken of ik een Engels exemplaar kan kopen.

    Dat stukje geschiedenis aan het begin ken ik niet. Ik lees uit het dagboek van Spurgeon elke dag!

  3. Annie Kate says:

    Ja, het is heel goed. Ik denk niet dat het al vertaald is want het is pas uitgekomen. Hier zal je een andere kant van Spurgeon zien dan in het dagboek.

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