How his example can encourage believers who “walk in darkness, and see no light.”
For Charles Spurgeon, the celebrated 19th-century preacher, depression was more than just circumstantial. When he spoke of it in his sermons and lectures, his examples, which were often rooted in his own experience, included a significant form of depression: the kind that comes without cause. In one sermon, he said,
You may be surrounded with all the comforts of life and yet be in wretchedness more gloomy than death if the spirits are depressed. You may have no outward cause whatever for sorrow and yet if the mind is dejected, the brightest sunshine will not relieve your gloom. … There are times when all our evidences get clouded and all our joys are fled. Though we may still cling to the Cross, yet it is with a desperate grasp.
Spurgeon understood that depression isn’t always logical and its cause is not always clear. There are times, he said, when our spirits betray us, and we sink into darkness. We slip into the “bottomless pits” where our souls “can bleed in ten thousand ways, and die over and over again each hour.” There is no reasoning, and a remedy is hard to find. As he put it once in a lecture to students:
As well fight with the mist as with this shapeless, undefinable, yet, all-beclouding hopelessness. One affords himself no pity when in this case, because it seems to be unreasonable, and even sinful to be troubled without manifest cause; and yet troubled the man is, even in the very depths of his spirit … [it] needs a heavenly hand to push it back … but nothing short of this will chase away the nightmare of the soul.
I am so thankful for quotes like this from Spurgeon because you can hear his understanding. I remember how helpless I have felt in my own depression, …