Charles & Susannah Spurgeon: Confidence in God's Care
“The Christian’s faith sometimes fails; however, God never forsakes His people. If it seems as if He is asleep while His people suffer, it should be remembered that the pillow beneath His head is His own Omniscience, and, as surely as He ruled those winds and waves on Galilee’s lake and reigned in the tempest with a word, so certainly does He manage all the affairs of His children and appoint or permit all that concerns them.”
- Susannah Spurgeon
I am reading a phenomenal biography about the wife of one of my favorite theologians, Charles Spurgeon and his wife, Susie, called simply: Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon. What an incredible couple they were. Through some shocking trials and suffering, much of which included Susie being an invalid and remaining at home through the majority of her life and unable to travel with her husband throughout his extensive ministry, they remained anchored in the rock of our Lord Jesus Christ. They understood that the purpose of suffering was to bring men “near to Jesus” and to a “conscious dependence upon God.”
Looking at Psalms 31:15, “My times are in thy hand”, Susie declared: “Not one or two important epochs of my history only, but everything that concerns me; joys that I had not expected, sorrows that must have crushed me if they could have been anticipated, sufferings which might have terrified me by their grimness had I looked upon them, surprises which infinite love had prepared for me, services of which I could not have imagined myself capable; all these lay in that mighty hand as the purposes of God’s eternal will for me.”
Charles dealt with severe depression throughout most of his life, and may have been diagnosed with biopolar disorder in our day. But through it all, Susie faithfully ministered to him at his side. At the end of a long hard day, she would read to him from other puritan theologians, bringing calming peace to his mind and allowing him to rest. Many of these times, their reading together would bring conviction and tears, and Susie said: “He from the smitings of a very tender conscience toward God, and I, simply and only because I love him, and want to share his grief.” They possessed such tender affection and care for one another. It was a true spiritual partnership as God intended for marriage.
The biographer, Ray Rhodes, Jr, testified: “Their ministry to one another cemented their affections with a bond that no amount of suffering could erode.”
It has been so convicting to me as well, to remain steadfast at my husband’s side through the ebbs and flows of life. My husband also deals with his own set of struggles, and how might I also more faithfully minister to him through reading truth and purposefully praying over him to bring comfort to his soul in these low moments?
It was spoken of Susie: “Never would Mr. Spurgeon have gone through his unparalleled labors, if he had not found rest and reinforcement in his home, and in the society of a brave, noble, loving woman.”
How can we bring such rest and reinforcement into our homes? How can we become brave, noble, and loving women of God who stand boldly by our men and hold to God’s unshakeable truth? God has such beauty to display through a loving marriage. He displays His glory when you lovingly lay your life down for your husband and children.
It is drawing near to the anniversary of the anticipated arrival of my own precious baby (was due April 2017), that we bid farewell to at a mere 14 weeks conception. I look upon the blooming, beautifully fragrant Daphnia in my yard, that we planted over our little one’s grave, and remember and grieve. It was a precious little one, with perfect tiny fingers and toes. It was a very difficult season of my life, as my body clung to the leftover tissue and wouldn’t let it all go until eight long weeks, anemia, and multiple ultrasounds later. I had never experienced such pain and heartache, such unsatisfied longing, and my soul cried out to Jesus like it had never done before. We felt Jesus in that time in incredible comforting ways. He alone was enough. We could testify to that “conscious dependence upon God” that Charles and Susie testified too. I’m also thankful for the promises of God, a loving and tender husband, and a faithful church that poured out abundant love to us in practical ways; all of which helped carry us through this storm.
As I look back on my own suffering, I am reminded once again, that we serve a good, good Father. He gives us inspiring examples throughout history, like Charles and Susannah Spurgeon, a great cloud of witnesses to inspire and point us upward and onward.
Press on, dear friends. God is in control. “The pillow beneath his head is his own Omniscience.”
“Admist a thousand snares I stand
Upheld and guarded by thy hand;
That hand unseen shall hold me still,
And lead me to thy holy hill.” - Isaac Watts (quoted as a favorite hymn of the Spurgeons)
“Though we may not at the time, see His purpose in the afflictions which He sends us, it will be plainly revealed when the light of eternity falls upon the road along which we have journeyed.” - Susannah Spurgeon