Living By Faith Blog


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How Spurgeon Saw His Trials And Suffering

Severe Pain And Depression

Charles Spurgeon was a pastor in England in the 1800′s.

He preached to thousands each Sunday and his sermons were mailed around the world.  But he also experienced severe pain and recurring  depression.

Here’s how he saw these trials —

From God’s Hand

“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.”

They Brought Him Much Grace

“I am afraid that all the grace that I have got of my comfortable and easy times and happy hours, might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows, and pains, and griefs, is altogether incalculable … Affliction is the best bit of furniture in my house. It is the best book in a minister’s library.”

He Prayed That God Would Deliver Him

“When I was racked some months ago with pain, to an extreme degree, so that I could no longer bear it without crying out, I asked all to go from the room, and leave me alone; and then I had nothing I could say to God but this —

‘Thou are my Father, and I am thy child; and thou, as a Father art tender and full of mercy.

‘I could not bear to see my child suffer as thou makest me suffer, and if I saw him tormented as I am now, I would do what I could to help him, and put my arms under him to sustain him.

‘Wilt thou hide thy face from me, my Father? Wilt thou still lay on a heavy hand, and not give me a smile from thy countenance?’

“So I pleaded, and I ventured to say, when I was quiet, and they came back who watched me: ‘I shall never have such pain again from this moment, for God has heard my prayer.’ I bless God that ease came and the racking pain never returned.”

(These quotes are from John Piper’s “Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity,” pp.24-25.)


  • Spurgeon saw that every trial was from God’s loving and good hand (Gen 50:20; Job 1:21-22; Job 2:10; Lam 3:37-38; Amos 3:6; Acts 14:23; 1Pe 4:12-13).
  • He saw that one reason God brought trials was to give him more grace — more experienced nearness to Christ.  Spurgeon said trials brought him far more grace than ease and comfort did (Psa 119:67; Rom 5:3-5; 2Co 12:9-10; Heb 12:10; James 1:2-4; 1Pe 1:6-7).
  • Even though he believed God brought the trials, Spurgeon still prayed — passionately and earnestly — that God would remove them.   And sometimes God did.  (John 9:2-3; 2Cor 12:8-9; James 5:14-16).

How Does This Impact You?

I’d love to hear.  Feel free to leave a comment below.  Thanks.

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(Picture is from Wikimedia Commons.)

Category: Problems or Trials, Stories about Other People


9 Responses

  1. Patty says:

    Wow! What timing. Had my own experience with God-granted relief just yesterday. Can’t explain why He chooses to move in different ways at different times (at least that’s how I perceive it). But He is God, and I am not. I relate to Spurgeon in my own way and with words much less sophisticated. But the grace I’ve been given through trials is the same.
    Thank you for sharing this, Steve!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Patty. I gives me joy to think that these words from Spurgeon encouraged you. And I am so glad to hear that God has been meeting you. Onward!

  2. Tina says:

    Yes, this message did help me. It reminded me of how God is in control of my life “not me”..
    My health has been up and down and when it’s been down I do find myself closer and closer to the GREAT I AM. Praise & Glory be to the one & only True Living God!!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Tina,

      I am so glad you found this helpful. And I love how enthusiastic you are about God as our Great Physician 🙂

      Keep fighting the fight to trust all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus.

      He is worthy it all,

      Steve Fuller

  3. Lorraine Kashdan says:

    Wow! I’m so glad to hear this and to have been encouraged by the cited scriptures below.

    I am going through many trials after impassioned please to get closer to Christ, these have brought great results but the effects of my suffering are visible from the outside. Often other christians try to pray these sufferings away from me when I have not yet called them to do that because I am still under the ‘benefit’ of the particular suffering.

    As each suffering begins to reveal it’s purpose to me throught the discipline it brings I attempt at that point to pray it off thoroughly but this practise seems most odd to my fellow believers as they seem to believe I am sinning somehow by what they call ‘agreeing’ to the illness, accident, trial or whatever it might be. I know that I effectively invited some of these trials into my life by asking for certain qualities to be refined and they are refined in some cases daily by certain trials, but this way of viewing trials is so foriegn to many of our brothers who only know a gospel of prosperity of healing and continua good that they do not understand.

    Where do I think this has come from? Paul gives us a clue when he tries to compare Godly discipline with parental discipline and yet discipline is now a dirty word in modern western society. Coming from a mixed culture I know that my chldren often thank me for their discipline (which does not involve any physical intervention) because they have freedom through having now reaped qualities of value which they see their friends not having. However, this concept is hard to understand if the concept of parental discipline is not easily understood.

    I have found myself like a rebellious and loose child running about like a cannon ball before in Christ, not knowing which teaching to follow or how to hear the word of the Lord and know it was him for sure. I knew the world held nothing so I have cried out like a spoilt little child ‘father – please! discipline me for my own sakes’ and of course, he did.

    Thank you for this article. I am hoping I will get to study at Spurgeons College and have booked an open day but haven’t read many of his teachings so ‘stumbling’ on this as God wills as a first article has made me feel upbeat.

    I studied this article under great trial – how else could I have felt such deep joy in the words it contained?

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Lorraine,

      I am so glad you stumbled upon this post, and that it strengthened you.

      I agree that the prosperity gospel keeps us from seeing many important truths in Scripture, and can keep us from gaining all the benefit God has for us in our trials. I am thankful you are seeking to glean everything you can from every trial God has brought you.

      May the Lord continue to teach, strengthen, and satisfy you in himself.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  4. mark says:

    Love this site. I have a friend in Viginia who says its always God`s will to heal. So, I was confused. So I`m glad I read this part of your site. Thanks.

  5. sherry says:

    Thank you so much for this message. I needed to hear it. I think God gave me this trial so I could see His glory. These words from Spurgeon were awesome. I felt such relief. I know I can be a little mouthy on this site, so forgive me. I am so happy to have fell upon your site. Thank You so much

  6. Rose says:

    Can you please pray for my family & I? I was falsely arrested by a trooper who is sick in his head. They refused to permit me to get medical care and detained me for hours when I did absolutely nothing wrong. Law enforcement attracts psychopaths (look it up) and psychopaths have a badge & gun to harm you! He stole my money and personal possessions Every person needs to demand psychological testing for state troopers.

    Please pray for my exoneration.

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