Thursday, August 23, 2012

Woman of Purpose {Susannah Spurgeon}

One of the greatest means the Lord has used in my life to excite me about the things of God (apart from His Word!) has been reading or hearing the stories of faithful Christians who've gone on before me. Every now and again I will be posting stories of different Christian women from the past- women who have lived lives of purpose for the Lord, so that we may be encouraged by their faithful examples!

"The soul that has learned the blessed secret of seeing God's hand in all that concerns it, cannot be a prey to fear, it looks beyond all second causes, straight into the heart and will of God, and rests content, because He rules." Susannah Spurgeon, Free Grace and Dying Love

If ever a woman had cause for discontentment, it might well have been Susannah Spurgeon.

Wife of the famous English preacher Charles Spurgeon, mother of twin boys, and faithful servant of the Lord, Susannah's life was full of trials.

She loved her husband dearly, but had to share him with thousands. Charles Spurgeon spent great portions of time away from home- preaching, teaching, counseling, and serving both his congregation, as well as other churches near and far. When he was home, he spent much of his time studying and preparing for sermons and lectures, as well as writing letters and books. His health frequently required him to leave home for warmer climates, and Susannah had to stay behind (due to her health, as we will see momentarily).

Charles fondly referred to Susannah as "wifey." They loved one another immensely much, and had a joyful marriage and a deep friendship. Yet God (in His perfect will) ordained much separation for the cherished couple. They both found it trying at times, but were anxious to "count it all joy."

When I think how selfish I am over my own husband, this humbles me. Oh how jealous and fiery I become if he spends too much time in his study or away from home! I complain and needle, asking him to bend over backwards in order to spend more time with me.

Not Susannah. She surrendered her husband to the Lord's calling on his life, and lived a life of quiet contentment and joyful submission.

She spent years of her life as a bed-ridden invalid. Susannah was afflicted through the majority of her adult life with a debilitating chronic illness. No one is too sure what it was, but whatever it was, it kept her in bed for years.

After only two and half weeks of bedrest during my pregnancy, I can only begin to imagine how horrifying years in bed might become. Many women would allow this to bring them down into the depths of despair. But Susannah loved her Lord deeply. Not only did she remain joyful and fixed on Him, she busily served her Lord and others from her bed.

She wrote a beautiful devotional entitled Free Grace and Dying Love, much in the same vein and style of her husband's devotionals (if you enjoyed Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, you ought to give this a try!). She started a Book Fund to provide books for the libraries of poor pastors around the world, and was responsible for getting thousands of theological works into the hands of God's servants.

She graciously recorded God's many precious gifts to her, and answers to her prayers. She trained her sons in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Her dear husband died ten years before her, and she continued faithful to Christ until the end, despite the sorrow of widowhood.

Now that was some kind of woman! Susannah Spurgeon challenges me to live faithfully and obediently, serving the Lord and my family, no matter how difficult my life's circumstances are.

Further Resources: Free Grace and Dying Love by Susanah Spurgeon, with The Life of Susannah Spurgeon, by Charles Ray.

Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity, a message from John Piper  

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