Many people today struggle with depression. This problem is not only an issue outside the Church, but also inside of it. People suffer in silence and wonder where the Lord is in the midst of their pain? Such people often don’t have the doctrinal and theological categories to deal with the stress of life. Even as someone who has studied the Bible his entire life, I often find battles with depression to be difficult. Such struggles are not new though they go back into early biblical history and extend to the present day. This is why when I read Zach Eswine’s new book Spurgeon’s Sorrows Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression I was deeply encouraged.
Zach’s book has three parts. In part one he seeks to help his readers understand the problem of depression. In part two he helps his readers to help others who suffer from depression. The book concludes with a look to learn helps to daily cope with depression.
Earlier I mentioned that many people struggle with depression. I know of a lot of ministry leaders across the country for whom this problem is very real. They aren’t alone. I struggle on and off with depression. Thankfully we’re not alone. One of the greatest preachers the “Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon also struggled with this. Throughout his book, the author cites Spurgeon time and time again with a view to give Spurgeon’s perspective on the problem of depression. Spurgeon was a great preacher but he struggled with depression as the author shows.
One of my friends wisely commented that our trials are meant as a means to comfort others. That statement is true for everything including depression and is exemplified in the life of Charles Spurgeon. Charles Spurgeon struggled with depression and the Lord used Spurgeon’s depression as a means to comfort others. When we minister to those struggling with depression we shouldn’t be like Job’s friends who offered unhelpful advice. We should be godly Christians and walk with strugglers sometimes in silence and other times to lift them up. Whatever we do to help those who struggle with depression or discouragement we should always lift their gaze to Christ who alone can lift the fog of depression. This is what Zach does so well, he lifts his readers eyes to the One who walks before, alongside, and ahead of them. That truth is a comfort to me.
While the whole book is excellent and worth of commendation there is one thing I’ve learned in times of depression that has helped me a great deal is to preach the gospel to myself. The more I grow in doctrinal and theological depth through my reading and study of God’s Word, the more I’m able to take what I know is true from God and to preach it back to myself. I like to think of this as massaging the truth of God’s Word into my heart and life. While on days when it seems the darkness will not lift when I take the Bible open it and preach it’s truth to my own heart until at last towards the end of the day the the fog begins to lift. Regular Bible reading is a boon to strugglers like me. So is being in community in the context of the local church under godly biblical qualified leaders. Having an accountability partner to pray with and encourage me has also helped me a great deal.
I highly recommend this book. It will help Christians at every stage of their Christian life to understand how to help those who often suffer in silence with depression and discouragement. This book will also help those who do struggle with discouragement and depression with the gospel. This is a must read book for pastors, counselors, biblical counselors to learn how to walk with those who struggle with discouragement and depression. This excellent book will bring much encouragement, comfort, and practical help to strugglers and ministers alike.
Buy the book at Amazon or WTS Books.
Title: Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression
Author: Zach Eswine
Publisher: Christian Focus (2015)
I received this book for free from Reformation Trust for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”