Deep suffering makes theologians of us all.
- Barbara Brown Taylor
Discovered quite by accident today that Winston Churchill suffered from a fierce and chronic depression. Prompted me to reflect on what I know of another great leader’s struggle.
Charles Spurgeon, the greatest English preacher of the last century was a full-time preacher for more than 40 years at the 5,000 member Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, but also suffered terribly from depression. On average, he missed 1 out of every 3 Sundays because he could not function.
In his lectures to his students he spoke of when he especially wrestled with depression:
1. The hour of great success. “When at last a long-cherished desire is fulfilled, when God has been glorified greatly by our means, a great triumph achieved, then we are apt to faint.”
2. Before any great achievement. “An awful depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry.”
3. For seemingly no reason. “Causeless depression is not to be reasoned with…. If those who laugh at such melancholy did but feel the grief of it for one hour, their laughter would be sobered into compassion.”
“My witness is, that those who are honored by their Lord in public have usually to endure or carry a secret chastening lest by any means they exalt themselves. The Refiner, though, is never far from the mouth of the furnace when the gold is in that fire, and the Son of God is always walking in the midst of the flames when His holy children are cast into them.”
If you are a leader or aspire to be a leader; take note.