Friday, June 12, 2009

Is Your Heart Aching?

It is to our great benefit that Charles Spurgeon has left a wealth of written material for us. One such work is his Words of Cheer and within its pages we find a Cure for Heartache. Its well worth a read. Here is a portion that is perhaps most instructive and insightful:

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.—John 14:27

It is the easiest thing in the world in times of difficulty to let the heart be troubled. It is very natural for us to give up and drift with the stream, to feel that it is of no use “taking arms against [such] a sea of trouble,” but that it is better to lie passively and to say, “If one must be ruined, so let it be.” Despairing idleness is easy enough, especially to evil, rebellious spirits who are willing to get into further mischief that they may have the wherewithal to blame God more, against whose providence they have quarreled. Our Lord will not have us be rebellious. He bids us to pluck up heart and be of good courage in the worst conditions.
Here is the wisdom of His advice, namely, that a troubled heart will not help us in our difficulties or out of them. It has never been perceived in time of drought that lamentations have brought showers of rain. Doubtings, fears, and discouragements have never been observed to produce a thaw in seasons of frost. We have never heard of a man with a declining business who managed to multiply the number of his customers by unbelief in God. I do not remember reading of a person whose wife or child was sick, who discovered any miraculous healing power in rebellion against the Most High.

...A troubled heart makes that which is bad worse. It magnifies, aggravates, caricatures, and misrepresents. If but an ordinary foe is in your way, a troubled heart makes him swell into a giant. “We were in their sight but as grasshoppers,” said the ten spies who gave the evil report, “and we were as grasshoppers in our own sight when we saw them” (See Numbers 13:33.) But it was not so. No doubt the men were very tall, but they were not so big after all as to make an ordinary six-foot man look like a grasshopper. Their fears made them grasshoppers by first making them fools. If they had possessed but ordinary courage, they would have been men, but being cowardly, they subsided into grasshoppers. After all, what is an extra three, four, or five feet of flesh to a man? Is not the bravest soul the tallest? If he is of shorter stature, but nimble and courageous, he will have the best of it. Little David made short work of great Goliath. Yet so it is. Unbelief makes our difficulties seem to be gigantic. Then it leads us to suppose that no soul had such difficulties before, and so we egotistically cry, “I am the man that hath seen affliction” (Lamentations 3:1). We claim to be peers in the realm of misery, if not the emperors of the kingdom of grief.
...Yet it is not so. Why? What ails you? The headache is excruciating! It is bad enough, but what would you say if you had seven such aches at once, with cold and nakedness to back them! Twitches of rheumatism are horrible! Well can I endorse that statement! But what then? Why, there have been men who have lived with such tortures all their lives, like Baxter, who could tell all his bones because each one had made itself heard by its own peculiar pang. What is our complaint compared with the diseases of Calvin, the man who preached every daybreak to the students in the cathedral and worked on till long past midnight, all the while a mass of disease with a complicated agony? You are poor? Ah, yes! But you have your own room, scanty as it is, and there are hundreds in the workhouse who find sorry comfort there. It is true you have to work hard! Yes, but think of the Huguenot galley slave in the old times, who for the love of Christ was bound with chains to the oar and scarcely knew rest day nor night. Think of the sufferings of the martyrs of Smithfield, or of the saints who rotted in their prisons.
...Be of good cheer, soldier, the battle must soon end. That blood-stained banner, when it will wave so high; that shout of triumph, when it shall thrill from so many thousand lips; that grand assembly of heroes, all of them made more than conquerors; the sight of the King in His beauty, riding in the chariot of His triumph on streets paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem; the acclamations of spirits glorified; and the shouts and songs of cherubims and seraphims—all these shall make up for all the fightings of today:
“And they who, with their Master,
Have conquered in the fight,
For ever and for ever
Are clad in robes of light.”

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