Two Spurgeon Quotes For Sufferers

I was surprised at the Passion Conference I attended earlier this week, with how much the speakers taught on suffering. They prayed we would thank God, and even one day cherish “the nightmare” he allows in our lives. Thinking about that [difficult] concept brought these two quotes to mind. I pray they bless you, and that God gives us eyes to see!

“I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever had have turned out to be my best days. And when God has seemed most cruel to me he has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would bless him more than for anything else it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things the richest tenderest love has been manifested to me. Our Father’s wagons rumble most heavily when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of his grace. Love letters from heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes. The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy. Fear not the storm. It brings healing in its wings and when Jesus is with you in the vessel the tempest only hastens the ship to its desired haven.” ―C. H. Spurgeon

“No stars gleam as brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky. No water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand. And no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity. Tested faith brings experience. You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials. And you would never have known God’s strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through.”
― C.H. Spurgeon

 

 

Bridges or Barriers: The Beauty in Struggling

Guest Blogger: I have a basic theory on “souls” that I compare a persons inward being to different types of materials.  Based on their drive, their countenance, and their quirks they are cotton, silk,cashmere, velvet, burlap, lace-you get it.  My dear friend, Elizabeth and I have had the opportunity to get to know each other this year, and we quickly found out that our souls are made of the same material.  We think and feel deeply, and love to journal almost as much as we love to laugh. I’ve been so blessed by her thoughts, encouragements, and personality, and I was very excited when she agreed to let me post some of her thoughts in my blog! Elizabeth’s story encourages me to struggle well. She challenges me to delight in my Savior, realizing what a prize He is, and she reminds me that the end will be so worth ANY amount of struggling! Be blessed!

 

“This summer I went on a pretty thrilling hike. In a jungle. In Indonesia. Down to a 300 foot waterfall. Where few had ever been to before. So many thoughts, feelings, and sights are attached to the memory of it.

The struggle it was to get down. The sliding down steep mud and grass. Holding onto ropes and maneuvering down bamboo shoots with small openings cut out for our feet. The hundreds of eagle-sized bats swarming high up in the sky above us. The work that it took to make it there but thinking the whole time about how beautiful it might be at the end. Making my way down, although slightly treacherous, generated in me a feeling of tension but also a deep, excited joy. I didn’t even know what was at the end- our guides thought it was best not to reveal to us what were about to see until we got there ourselves. So I continued down the steep, rough path with anticipation, simply knowing that the end would be good.

I’ve been struggling through the season of life I am in currently. Facing unknowns about my future. Experiencing pain from feeling misunderstood. Battling against weakness. Fighting inward tensions that feel paralyzing. Making my way down a steep, rough path.

Yet at the same time, I almost feel content. Somehow, I am experiencing peace and comfort and incredible joy. And even the pain and struggle, although still present, although still strong, feels almost right.

I think I am supposed to be having this struggle right now. I think God is moving. And He’s leading me somewhere I need to go.

Can pain really ever feel comfortable? I think the closest to it, is knowing- DEEPLY knowing- when in pain, that it ultimately is going to bring about something good that will be worth it. When I have such a deep assurance in my soul that the outcome will be beautiful and will bring a harvest of righteousness, then although pain is still pain, it becomes the closest to comfortable it can be and a quiet, surreal joy follows that is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Heb 12:11).

And what if the path not only feels rough but also feels lonely? Can loneliness, feeling misunderstood, or unknown, ever be seen as a gift?

The past few months, I have collected a number of experiences that have completely changed me and in some senses have thrown me into a tumultuous whirlpool of questions, tensions, emotions, transformations, and new perspectives… It’s all come together in my mind like a big, beautiful secret that makes me feel alone in my inward battles as a result. And that feels painful.

Yet, the inward questions, the silent wrestling, the lack of feeling truly understood, has forced me to scream questions that I have never asked before with such sincerity.

“God, do you hear me?”

“Did you just see what I saw?”

“Do you know the struggles I’m experiencing? Every emotion running through me?”

“Are you really with me, Father?”

The answers to these questions have left me showered in hope and overwhelmed in comfort.

The loneliness in my struggles has been a gateway into recognizing what deep communion with my Father entails. The moments of being richly fed by His Word and His presence have continued to multiply. The peace and sincere satisfaction in knowing Him and being known by Him have overflowed into thankfulness and life that seems too good to even be true. And it’s not that other people haven’t been able to give to me and support me in very meaningful ways. It’s just that my Father’s communion and presence amidst the struggles have been limitless, rich, deep, and beautiful beyond comparison.

God, have you given me so much grace that I can honestly say that the quiet war I am experiencing right now is a gift from you? That the struggles, the moments of weakness, the anxiety, the steep and rough path I am walking is-no question-the perfect path for me right now?

It’s throwing me into Your presence. It’s grounding me deep in your Word. It’s granting me a view of Your plan. Your purpose. Your desires. It’s nudging me to pursue Your wisdom. To hear Your voice. It’s establishing for me a stronger confidence in the hope of one day seeing the prize. Seeing Jesus. It’s a challenging, treacherous path that is taking me somewhere beautiful.

So yes, I have struggles. I ask questions about the unknown that leaves me with an inward tension. I often feel like it’s a burden that I have to carry alone. And it takes work to keep walking.

But I’m discovering that these things, although not comprising an easy and effortless hike, are proving to be bridges rather than barriers that are taking me exactly where I need to go. The path is tough, but there is comfort in deeply knowing the path is being carved out by my loving Father. And that leaves me gracefully struggling through it with peace and joy that is priceless.

And who knows, maybe it will lead to something as incredible as a beautiful, massive waterfall in the middle of the jungle of an unchartered area on an island in Indonesia.”

indo

Dear Friends Going Through Trials of Various Kinds

Dear friends going through trials of various kinds–

“There are two kinds of ground: fallow ground and ground that has been broken up by the plow.

The fallow field is smug, contented, protected from the shock of the plow and the agitation of the harrow. Such a field, as it lies year after year, becomes a familiar landmark to the crow and the blue jay. Had it intelligence, it might take a lot of satisfaction in its reputation: it has stability; nature has adopted it; it can be counted upon to remain always the same, while the fields around it change from brown to green and back to brown again. Safe and undisturbed, it sprawls lazily in the sunshine, the picture of sleepy contentment.

But it is paying a terrible price for its tranquility; never does it feel the motions of mounting life, nor see the wonders of
bursting seed, nor the beauty of ripening grain. Fruit it can never know, because it is afraid of the plow and the harrow.

In direct opposite to this, the cultivated field has yielded itself to the adventure of living. The protecting fence has opened to admit the plow, and the plow has come as plows always come, practical, cruel, business-like and in a hurry. Peace has been shattered by the shouting farmer and the rattle of machinery. The field has felt the travail of change; it has been upset, turned over, bruised and broken.

But its rewards come hard upon its labors. The seed shoots up into the daylight its miracle of life, curious, exploring the new world above it. All over the field, the hand of God is at work in the age-old and ever renewed service of creation. New things are born, to grow, mature, and consumate the grand prophecy latent in the seed when it entered the ground. Nature’s wonders follow the plow.”

May you soon see the beauty of your ripening grain in the midst of the pain of the plow.

With Love,

Betty

Miracles Follow the Plow; Dr. A.W. Tozer-http://www.theprayerlife.com/tozerfallow.html

When Every Day is a Battle

By my boss, I was recently given one of the top things on my wish list, the puritan prayer book, “The Valley of Vision”. I was so encouraged by the introduction of the book, I thought I’d share it with you. This is especially for my brothers and sisters who are in a difficult situation right now, who feel like they are at their lowest low, and know each morning when they wake up that the day is going to be a constant battle. To you, I grieve that you are in these lowlands, but pray that while you are in the valley, God gives you clearer eyes to see Him.

The Valley of Vision

“Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,

Thou has brought me to the valley of vision,

Where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox

That the way down is the way up,

That to be low is to be high,

That the broken heart is the healed heart,

That the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,

That the repenting soul is the victorious soul,

That to have nothing is to possess all,

That to bear the cross is to wear the crown,

That to give is to receive,

That the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;

Let me find they light in my darkness,

Thy life in my death,

Thy joy in my sorrow,

Thy grace in my sin,

Thy riches in my poverty

Thy glory in my valley.”

Don’t give up. God is close to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18), He see each of your tears (Ps. 56:8),He will never leave you (Heb. 13:5), and He will sustain you (Phil 4:19) through this, and every difficult day.