Charles Spurgeon on Suffering
Spurgeon so greatly inspires and edifies:
Here we have two universals – more or less. We ALL suffer. And I would think that all Christians at least would never get enough of C. H. Spurgeon. I just did a quick look on my site and some 240 articles of mine deal with Spurgeon either fully or partially. So I certainly think he is an important figure, and one always worth reading.
And since Spurgeon suffered so greatly throughout his life, even while having such a remarkable ministry, he is always worth considering in this regard. Here is just one of the articles I have written on this: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2018/08/03/spurgeon-and-suffering/
Here I want to simply offer a number of excellent quotes by Spurgeon on this topic. Before proceeding, let me explain why I have recently started a new section on this website – “Quotations” – with 77 articles so far. While these may not be ideal as articles, there are several reasons why I am doing them:
-I am getting old, and there is so much more I want to write about and share, and this is one somewhat quicker way to do so.
-I have so many books I want to review, and this is a bit of a shortcut in the process (although there are 670 book reviews on my site).
-I have kazillions of quotes I have collected over the past half century, and I might as well make them widely available.
-It is hoped that these quotes will spur readers on to follow up with the authors more fully, be it Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones or Chesterton or Lewis, etc.
So with that attempt at justifying such quotation articles, here then are 25 great quotes by Spurgeon on suffering. I start with shorter ones, and hope you will keep reading through to the longer ones. And the final quote is my all time favourite quote of his on the issue of suffering.
“Fiery trials make golden Christians.”
“A Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.”
“When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.”
“There is no university for a Christian like that of sorrow and trial.”
“The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”
“Suffering times are a Christian’s harvest time.”
“The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.”
“The road to sorrow has been well trodden – it is the regular sheeptrack to heaven, and all the flock of God have had to pass along it.”
“God is chiselling you, making you into the image of Christ. None can be like the Man of Sorrow unless they have sorrows too.”
“I bear witness that some of the best things I have ever learned from mortal lips, I have learned from bedridden saints!”
“Suffering is better than sinning. There is more evil in a drop of sin than in an ocean of affliction. Better, burn for Christ, than turn from Christ.”
“I am certain that I never did grow in grace one-half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain. Where God takes such pains to teach, we ought to be at pains to learn.”
“It would be a very sharp and trying experience for me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me . . . that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity.”
“Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all your jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home in it.”
“Mark then, Christian, Jesus does not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer.”
“Our infirmities become the black velvet on which the diamond of God’s love glitters all the more brightly. Thank God I can suffer, thank God I can be made the object of shame and contempt; for, in this way, God shall be glorified.”
“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.”
“I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness. Sickness has frequently been of more use to the saints of God than health has. . . . A sick wife, a newly-made grave, poverty, slander, sinking of spirit, might teach lessons nowhere else to be learned so well. Trials drive us to the realities of religion.”
“The trees bow in the wind, and so must we. Every time the sheep bleats it loses a mouthful, and every time we complain we miss a blessing. Grumbling is a bad trade, and yields no profit, but patience has a golden hand. Our evils will soon be over. After rain comes clear shining; black crows have wings; every winter turns to spring; every night breaks into morning.”
“I know of no one who could, more sweetly than my dear father, impart comfort to bleeding hearts and sad spirits. As the crushing of the flower causes it to yield its aroma, so he, having endured in the long-continued illness of my beloved mother, and also constant pains in himself, was able to sympathize most tenderly with all sufferers.”
“Oh child of suffering, be patient. God has not passed you over in His providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows will also furnish you with what you need. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble. There is one who cares for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and His omnipotent hand will bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud will scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom will give place to the morning. He, if you are one of His family, will bind up your wounds and heal your broken heart.”
“A man whose life shall be one even and smooth path, will see very little of the glory of God, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, very little suitability for being filled with the revelation of God. Those who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know very little about the God of tempests; but those who ‘go down to the sea in ships, and do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.’ Among the huge Atlantic waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.”
“‘I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction’ – This has long been the motto fixed before our eye upon the wall of our bed chamber, and in many ways it has also been written on our heart. It is no mean thing to be chosen of God. God’s choice makes chosen men choice men. . . . We are chosen, not in the palace, but in the furnace. In the furnace, beauty is marred; fashion is destroyed, strength is melted, glory is consumed; here eternal love reveals its secrets, and declares its choice. So has it been in our case . . . Therefore, if today the furnace be heated seven times hotter, we will not dread it, for the glorious Son of God will walk with us amid the glowing coals.”
“Men will never become great in divinity until they become great in suffering. ‘Ah!’ said Luther, ‘affliction is the best book in my library;’ and let me add, the best leaf in the book of affliction is that blackest of all the leaves, the leaf called heaviness, when the spirit sinks within us, and we cannot endure as we could wish. And yet again; this heaviness is of essential use to a Christian, if he would do good to others. . . . There are none so tender as those who have been skinned themselves. Those who have been in the chamber of affliction know how to comfort those who are there. Do not believe that any man will become a physician unless he walks the hospitals; and I am sure that no one will become a divine, or become a comforter, unless he lies in the hospital as well as walks through it, and has to suffer himself.”
My favourite quote:
“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart. When you are so weak that you cannot do much more than cry, you coin diamonds with both your eyes. The sweetest prayers God ever hears are the groans and sighs of those who have no hope in anything but his love.”