Livin' la Vida DOXA
3/17/16 at 02:57 PM 1 Comments

A Note to a Suffering Friend

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Dear "J" and "S",

I spoke with "B" and "D" a couple of days ago and they told me that "J" has been diagnosed with cancer. I want you to know how terribly sorry we are to hear this news, and assure you that we will be praying for you both. I also want to share with you something that has meant alot to me and carried me through the recent loss of my mother. I hope that it will encourage you both, as well, to remain unshaken and unwavering in your relationship with your loving Father. Sometimes the best way for us to understand Him and His Word is to see how other people have remained steadfast through hard times. Although I could name countless saints who have undergone and endured hardship and suffering for the sake of their Lord Jesus (Stephen in Acts, for example, or the numerous early Church martyrs, or John Bunyan, or any number of famous hymn writers, or recent martyrs at the hands of ISIS), Charles Spurgeon stands out to me as one who was able to understand how the Lord brings about and uses the fruit of suffering in the lives of His children. Spurgeon suffered from gout, rheumatism and Bright's disease [inflammation of the kidneys] from 1869 (at the age of 35) onward. It became progressively worse so that "approximately one third of the last twenty-two years of his ministry was spent out of the Tabernacle pulpit, either suffering, or convalescing, or taking precautions against the return of illness.”

In a letter to a friend Spurgeon wrote, "Lucian says, 'I thought a cobra had bitten me, and filled my veins with poison; but it was worse,—it was gout.' That was written from experience, I know.” "So for over half his ministry Spurgeon dealt with ever increasingly recurrent pain [such as in] his joints that cut him down from the pulpit and from his labors again and again, until the diseases took his life at age 57 where he was convalescing in Mentone, France."

John Piper notes that "What comes through again and again is Spurgeon's unwavering belief in the sovereignty of God in all his afflictions. More than anything else, it seems, this kept him from caving in to the adversities of his life." But what really strikes me is what Spurgeon himself said about his suffering: "It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity.” Spurgeon saw his suffering as part of God's design for the good of his life and ministry, and the glory of Christ. I have no doubt that the Apostle Paul's words from 2 Cor. 4:16-18 resonated in Spurgeon's heart and mind, and I pray that they will in yours too:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

May you increasingly sense the Father's powerful — yet oh so tender and loving! — presence as He guides you through the valley. May you be able to pray like the Psalmist: "O Sovereign LORD, deal kindly with me for your name's sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me." (Ps. 109:21) That is how we will be praying for you.

In Christ's Love,

João and Sophia

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* My quotes are from two sources: an article called "The Anguish and Agonies of Charles Spurgeon" in Christian History, issue 29, by Darrel Amundsen, and a message by John Piper about Charles Spurgeon, which you can find here.

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I'm João, but you can call me John. Since meeting Christ at age 16, my driving passion has been to glorify Him! I’m a “Great Commission Entrepreneur,” passionate about starting and leading anything — mission agencies, churches, businesses — that helps fulfill the Great Commission. I also love to speak, teach, preach and write about God's glory in all areas of life and among all peoples of the world.

You can contact Dr. John Mordomo at joao.mordomo@gmail.com; find out more at www.johnmordomo.com; link directly to this blog at www.llvd.net; and follow him on:

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