Wise Words from Charles Spurgeon

In John Piper’s short biography of Charles Spurgeon, he includes a comment made by the articulate preacher describing the many sufferings he had to undergo in during his life:

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.

My life has had its share of seemingly endless nights, tears shed, and concern for my own future and the future of those I love, but in the midst of those dark times it was comforting to know that God was not a helpless onlooker in heaven, but One who “from all eternity, has, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men.” (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 12) In other words, God has measured out my troubles for my spiritual good in the same way as a loving, caring pharmacist would measure out exactly the mix of medicine that I would need for my physical well-being.

The difficulties in my life are not random events, but have all been lovingly decreed by a Sovereign Lord who will accomplish both His eternal glory, and my eternal good, through the temporary struggles I face on “this terrestrial ball.” This knowledge does not eliminate the pain experienced, but it does give courage to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” (Phil. 3:14) because every tear, every pain, every burden is not meaningless, but has eternal purpose.



  1. Danny Gilliam said,

    May 12, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Excellent post. Reminds me of a statement I once made to a family member. They were bemoaning their trials and sufferings, and I asked this question, “Has it ever occurred to you that your sufferings have less to do with you than those around you?” I went on to say that sometimes we are the vessel by which God perfects Christ-likeness in the life of another. Even in our suffering, we tend to think primarily about ourselves.

    • cliftonr said,

      May 12, 2009 at 2:18 PM

      How true! We too often revert back to our own long-standing belief that we are the center of the universe.

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