Winter Seasons of the Soul

I was encouraged this morning by this post. Here is a exert:

And Spurgeon himself was very familiar with those ebbs and the winter season of the soul. John Piper, in giving a biographical address about Mr. Spurgeon, noted his recurrent battles with depression. John Piper writes,

It is not easy to imagine the omni-competent, eloquent, brilliant, full-of-energy Spurgeon weeping like a baby for no reason that he could think of. In 1858, at age 24 it happened for the first time. He said, “My spirits were sunken so low that I could weep by the hour like a child, and yet I knew not what I wept for.”….

He saw his depression as his “worst feature.” “Despondency,” he said, “is not a virtue; I believe it is a vice. I am heartily ashamed of myself for falling into it, but I am sure there is no remedy for it like a holy faith in God.”4

Spurgeon would once write, “This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry.”5 Charles Spurgeon was very familiar with a downcast, troubled soul.

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)

So was Jonathan Edwards. In his biography on Edwards, George Marsden writes, “We know that he [Edwards] also suffered from depressions throughout his life….Even as he kept the disciplines of the faith, he was frequently afflicted by times of spiritual deadness.”6 Jonathan Edwards was frequently afflicted by times of spiritual deadness.

Martin Luther (1483–1546)

And so was Martin Luther. On one particular occasion when he was greatly discouraged—which was not unusual for Luther—he was forcefully reminded of this by his wife, Katharine. Seeing him unresponsive to any word of encouragement, one morning she appeared dressed in black mourning clothes. No word of explanation was forthcoming, and so Luther, who had heard nothing of a bereavement, asked her, “Katharine, why are you dressed in mourning black?”

“Someone has died,” she replied.

“Died?” said Luther. “I have not heard of anyone dying. Whoever can have died?”

“It seems,” his wife replied, “that God must have died.”7

Luther got the point.

“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.

Show me your ways, oh Lord
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior
and my hope is in you all day long.”
~Psalm 25:1-4

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4 Responses to Winter Seasons of the Soul

  1. Betty says:

    This is a beautiful post Susanna. Thank you for writing it. Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Rick says:

    It’s always good to know that even the giants of the faith had struggles like this!

  3. Grace says:

    I agree with Rick…we can all relate to them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Add Schaeffer to that list….Mom

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