Our spiritual heroes are not monuments of marble but real-life people with feet of clay. They are not museum pieces for us to ponder over but examples for us to remember, consider, and to imitate. So, though we might be taken aback by Susie Spurgeon’s description of her spiritual struggles, we should not be.
When Susie pondered the riches of God’s grace and the potential of God’s mercies to “abound to every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8) she was amazed, she said, “at my own spiritual condition which, far too often, is reduced to one of indigence and distress.” She lamented that knowing of God’s abounding grace to her, and the blessedness of how His grace enabled her, that she, nevertheless, sometimes failed to “joyfully enter upon this inheritance.”
Even as she penned those words, she described herself as a “tremembling writer” who needed to strengthen her mind by faith as she received and looked forward to the future promises of God.
What did Susie do about her trembling hands and her spiritual indigence?
- She put down her pen to thank God for the riches of grace in Christ Jesus. The message to us is that to enjoy grace, apply grace, and to have grace-producing faith, we must stop what we are doing for a time and to lift up our eyes to Heaven and thank God for His great superabounding grace. There is a time to cease. A time to stop writing. Stop mowing. Stop washing clothes. Stop making dinner. Stop worrying about the messy house. There is a time to pause, to cease, to rest, and to simply breath in grace and breath out thanksgiving. Do you have pauses in your day for such gospel-drenched purposes? Or, when you take a break do you reach for your phone, or remember the clothes that need changing or the trash that needs taking out? Pause. Be still. Stop. Give thanks.
- She picked up her pen again. Susie’s example to us is to re-engage life with purpose. She takes up her pen again as she reflects on a gospel hymn: “What more can He say, than to you He hath said, You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?” Susie picks up her pen and she writes her praises to God. He has promised, He is trustworthy; what else can He do? What must we do after we pause to say thanks to God for his grace? We must pick up the hammer, the clothes basket, or whatever is required, and we live grace-fueled lives.
- She made it her aim to give generously to others. Early in her marriage to Charles, Susie sacrificed from the family budget in order to help to train pastors. Later she began “Mrs. Spurgeon’s Book Fund,” through which she ultimately gave away 200,000 books and other items to poor pastors. She did this from 1875 until her death in 1903. Susie believed that God gives gifts to His children and that the more we give, the more He supplies. In other words, she lived by the principle, “You can’t outgive God.” Susie purposed in her heart to “be bountiful, giving love, money, help, and kindness to all around” her because she knew that “God loveth a cheerful giver,” and that He will not only provide for His children but take their gifts of grace and cause them to “abound to every good work.” Susie felt that Christians sometimes are “impoverished” spiritually because they have “lacked zeal in enriching others.”
Because God is able, Susie declares, “there is no need for any child of His to be destitute, or distressed, either in spiritual or temporal matters.” She encourages Christians to meditate on these three words: “He is able.” Yes, you are weak and subject to temptations of various sorts but “He is able.” Knowing that God is able, and then acting on that knowledge, will help you out of your spiritual distress. What to do right now? 1. Pull away from your normal activities for even a few minutes and thank God for His grace as revealed in His Word. 2. Be about your duties purposefully, fueled by grace. 3. Display God’s grace by being generous to your church and to others. How? Know that God is Able. How? Meditate on 2 Corinthians 9:8.
Quotes from Susie are from A Cluster of Camphire. Read more about Susie in Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon from Moody Publishers. Go to www.susiespurgeon.com and you will find a link to bookstores to order Susie. To schedule Ray to preach at your church, teach for your next Bible conference, men’s retreat, ladies event, marriage retreat, book club, etc, simply email him. You can find contact information at susiespurgeon.com