Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a great preacher from the mid 1800s. His wisdom and insight into the things of God have touched multitudes of people over the generations. One of my favorite quotes of Spurgeon is “God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to make a mistake. So when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.” Isn’t that good?
Well, of course we all know that behind every great man is a great woman. Charles’ wife, Susannah, was a faithful wife and encourager of Charles for thirty-six years. She is best known for creating the Book Fund which provided books for struggling ministers who, in England at that time, could scarcely feed their families.
Much of Susannah’s adult life was spent suffering from many physical afflictions leaving her weak and bedridden for long periods of time. The following is a glimpse into her life as shared in my favorite devotional, Streams in the Desert.* I had a similar experience that I wrote about here: How Can I Sing in The Fire?
Featuring Mrs. Charles H. Spurgeon
At the end of a dull and dreary day, I lay resting on my couch as the night grew darker. Although my room was bright and cozy, some of the darkness outside seemed to have entered my soul and obscured its spiritual vision. In vain I tried to see the sovereign hand that I knew held mine and that guided my fog-surrounded feet along a steep and slippery path of suffering.
With a sorrowful heart I asked, “Why does the Lord deal with a child of His in this way? Why does he so often send such sharp and bitter pain to visit me? Why does he allow this lingering weakness to hinder the sweet service I long to render to his poor servants?”
These impatient questions were quickly answered through a very strange language. Yet no interpreter was needed except the mindful whisper of my heart. For a while silence reigned in the little room, being broken only by the crackling of an oak log burning in the fireplace. Suddenly I heard a sweet, soft sound: a faint, yet clear, musical note, like the tender trill of a robin beneath my window.
I asked aloud, “What can that be? Surely no bird can be singing outside at this time of year or night.” But again came the faint mournful notes, so sweet and melodious; yet mysterious enough to cause us to wonder.
Then my friend exclaimed, “It’s coming from the log on the fire!” The fire was unshackling the imprisoned music from deep within the old oak’s heart!
Perhaps the oak had acquired this song during the days when all was well with him — when birds sang merrily on his branches, and while the soft sunlight streaked his tender leaves with gold. But he had grown old and hard since then.
Ring after ring of knotty growth had sealed up his long-forgotten melody, until the fiery tongues of the flames consumed his callousness. The intense heat of the fire wrenched from him both a song and a sacrifice at once. Then I realized: when the fires of affliction draw songs of praise from us, we are indeed purified and our God is glorified!
Maybe some of us are like this old oak log: cold, hard, unfeeling, and never singing any melodious sounds. It is the fires burning around us that release notes of trust in God and bring cheerful compliance with His will. As I thought of this, the fire burned, and my soul found sweet comfort in the parable so strangely revealed before me.
Yes, singing in the fire! God helping us, sometimes using the only way He can to get harmony from our hard and apathetic hearts. Then, let the furnace be heated “seven times hotter than usual”.
*Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman, Zondervan, 1997, pp. 112-113
For pictures of Charles and Susannah Spurgeon click here.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I would love for you to share what’s on your heart in the comments below. Scroll a little farther down and you’ll see where you can leave your comments. Together, we can find the nearness of God in our darkest moments.
Sweet blessings to you,