How do we get through them? The times that knock the breath out; when even our strongest and bravest must confess with desolate eyes, “I do not know what to pray” (to paraphrase what Paul expresses in Rom. 8:26). How do we get through such times, when silences trump sentences? It is as if our words have no life jackets. They must stay, tread water in the shallows, and watch us from a distance. Words have no strength to venture with us into the heaving deeps that swallow us.
And many of us who believe in Jesus don’t like to admit it, but we find no immunity here either. Many of us know what it is to lose hair, weight, appetite and the semblance of ourselves. Painful circumstances or a disposition of gloom within our chemistry can put on their muddy boots and stand thick, full weighted and heavy upon our tired chests. It is almost like anxiety tying rope around the ankles and hands of our breath. Tied to a chair, with the lights out, we sit swallowing in panic the dark air.
These kinds of circumstances and bodily chemistry can steal the gift s of divine love too, as if all of God’s love letters and picture albums are burning up in a fire just outside the door, a fire which we are helpless to stop. We sit there, helpless in the dark of divine absence, tied to this chair, present only to ash and wheeze, while all we hold dear seems lost forever. We even wonder if we’ve brought this all on ourselves. It’s our fault. God is against us. We’ve forfeited God’s help.
Mentally, all of this, and its only Tuesday!
How do we get through?
The above extract is from Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression, written by Zack Eswine. This is what people have said about it:
…Spurgeon from early years to final days found dark distress ever hovering on the edges of his mind and sometimes launching an all out assault on his very being. How he managed all this, by the grace of God, both for himself and for others, drives both the gripping content and the riveting literary style of Zack Eswine in Spurgeon’s Sorrows.
Tom J. Nettles, Former Senior Professor of Historical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
The river of life often flows through sloughs of despond. Charles Spurgeon knew that well… Ditto Zack Eswine in this unusual, refreshing, sensible book… Read it, and take it to heart.
David Powlison, CCEF Executive Director, Senior Editor, Journal of Biblical Counseling
Zack Eswine is a pastor with the mind of a scholar and the heart of a poet. His wisdom gleaned from Charles Spurgeon’s struggle with depression is theologically profound and pastorally lucid.
Jason Byassee, Senior Pastor, Boone United Methodist Church, Boone, North Carolina
Zack Eswine, like Spurgeon, a preacher, pastor, and no stranger to suffering… there is much encouragement, comfort and practical help to be found in this rich and poetic treasure.
Richard Winter, Author of When Life Goes Dark: Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression, Director of Counseling at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri
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