Book Review: Spurgeon’s Sorrows

Spurgeon’s Sorrows by Zack Eswine gets two awards right off the bat: my first 5 star book of 2019 and the first book of 2019 to make me cry. This book has sat in the back of my mind for quite some time, and I finally purchased it late last year. When planning for January, I made a point of listing Spurgeon’s Sorrows as one of the books I would read in January. I’m about a week late, but I still read it early in the year! spurgeonssorrows

If you are not familiar with Charles Spurgeon, he is absolutely someone you should be familiar with. A Victorian-era pastor and theologian, Spurgeon was ahead of his time in many ways. One of those ways was his approach to depression and deep suffering. A sufferer himself, Spurgeon understood on a deep level what it was like to slog through depression and severe ailments in life. He and his wife were both chronically ill, and Spurgeon was severely depressed on top of his illnesses. Despite all of that, or really because of all of that, they did incredible work for the kingdom of God.

Spurgeon drew from the Bible his comfort and perspective in suffering. But he also emphasized the importance of getting medical help. Spurgeon himself received medical treatment (the precursor to our modern medical treatment for depression) for his depression. Through his sermons and writings, he provided a well-rounded and layered perspective on depression and suffering. He understood that help was not – and should not be – a one size fits all formula. People are much more complex than that, and individual suffering far too unique. But he did recognize and preach on the ways Jesus completely relates to our suffering (as he suffered greatly on Earth) and the ways the Psalms, Paul’s writings, and other passages relate to our suffering.

In Spurgeon’s Sorrows, Zack Eswine traces Spurgeon’s perspectives and teachings on depression and suffering. He uses Spurgeon’s teachings to broaden the reader’s understanding of depression. In this book, the sufferer finds comfort in know he or she is not alone and realistic hope in their suffering. The caretaker will find perspective and (hopefully) better understanding of what it is to walk through deep valley of depression. If you love someone with depression, this book will help you be a more compassionate person.

As a sufferer, this book was a comfort to my often-weary soul. Rooted in Scripture, this book shows that I am not alone, that Jesus knows and understands my weaknesses, and that there is hope. Eswine’s love and care for people is clear through his writing. He brings reason to an often chaotic and overwhelming discussion. He offers hope in Jesus, gives permission to seek help, and provides comfort through Scripture and the eloquent words of Charles Spurgeon.

Spurgeon’s Sorrows is an incredibly important book. This is the kind of book the Church should be reading about depression. Even if you do not suffer from depression, it is very likely you know someone who does. You may even be very close to them. This book will help you be there for those who are suffering. This book will help if you are suffering.

Spurgeon’s Sorrows by Zack Eswine gets 5/5 stars.

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