Spurgeon's Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression  -     By: Zack Eswine
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Spurgeon's Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression

Christian Focus Publications / Paperback

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Product Description

Christians should have the answers, shouldn't they?

Depression affects many people both personally and through the ones we love. Here Zack Eswine draws from C.H Spurgeon, 'the Prince of Preachers' experience to encourage us. What Spurgeon found in his darkness can serve as a light in our own darkness. Zack Eskwine brings you here, not a self-help guide, rather 'a handwritten note of one who wishes you well.'

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Christian Focus Publications
ISBN: 1781915385
ISBN-13: 9781781915387

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Publisher's Description

Christians should have the answers, shouldn't they? Depression affects many people both personally and through the ones we love. Here Zack Eswine draws from C.H Spurgeon, 'the Prince of Preachers' experience to encourage us. What Spurgeon found in his darkness can serve as a light in our own darkness. Zack Eskwine brings you here, not a self-help guide, rather 'a handwritten note of one who wishes you well.'

Author Bio

Zack Eswine is the Senior Pastor at the Riverside Church, St Louis, Missouri. He previously served as Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Covenant Theological Seminary, St Louis, Missouri. A list of his writings can be found at zackeswine.com or on his blog at preachingbarefoot.com.

Endorsements

...Spurgeon from early years to final days found dark distress ever hovering on the edges of his mind and sometimes launching an all out assault on his very being. How he managed all this, by the grace of God, both for himself and for others, drives both the gripping content and the riveting literary style of Zack Eswine in Spurgeon's Sorrows.
-Tom Nettles,
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

The river of life often flows through sloughs of despond. Charles Spurgeon knew that well... Ditto Zack Eswine in this unusual, refreshing, sensible book... Read it, and take it to heart.
-David Powlison,
CCEF Executive Director, Senior Editor, Journal of Biblical Counseling

Zack Eswine is a pastor with the mind of a scholar and the heart of a poet. His wisdom gleaned from Charles Spurgeon's struggle with depression is theologically profound and pastorally lucid.
-Jason Byassee,
Boone United Methodist Church, Boone, North Carolina

Zack Eswine, like Spurgeon, a preacher, pastor, and no stranger to suffering... there is much encouragement, comfort and practical help to be found in this rich and poetic treasure.
-Dr. Richard Winter,
Director of Counseling at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri

Editorial Reviews

...Spurgeon from early years to final days found dark distress ever hovering on the edges of his mind and sometimes launching an all out assault on his very being. How he managed all this, by the grace of God, both for himself and for others, drives both the gripping content and the riveting literary style of Zack Eswine in Spurgeon's Sorrows.
The river of life often flows through sloughs of despond. Charles Spurgeon knew that well... Ditto Zack Eswine in this unusual, refreshing, sensible book... Read it, and take it to heart.
Eswine's work demonstrates the value of reading biographies, old books, and sermons. Interacting with godly men and women from church history can be a vital aid to Christian maturity. He handles Spurgeon carefully, yet provocatively at points, and produces a volume that promises to help pastors and laypeople confront the sad terror of the dark night of the soul.

The words 'realistic hope' are in the subtitle, and that is exactly what this book offers. The writing style is winsome and the way he frames Spurgeon's quotes almost make it sound as if the great man was writing last week.
There are few men I trust more to write a book on depression than Zack Eswine. His tears have freed me to embrace my tears, and his story of heartache has taken me further into my own. So Zack hasn't merely written a book chronicling Spurgeon's often debilitating struggles with melancholy and depression; he has given us a grace-full en ramp to understand our sorrows, and an incredibly practical guide for caring for heart-pained friends God places in our lives. I cannot wait to buy many copies of this book to give to strugglers and care-givers alike.
Pastors, fellow strugglers, spiritual friends, counsellors, caring church members, and you...will find your own soul enriched and, consequently, more effectively equipped to wisely love others through the dark, foggy valleys that believers of all ages have travelled.
Most Christian books on depression depress me. This book is a very rare and precious gift of encouragement and help. In it two godly pastor-scholars open up their lives to us and share their hearts. Both have suffered profoundly and both have known seasons of deep despair and darkness. Together they bring us God's word, helping us wrestle with the scary fact that our Heavenly Father loves us dearly and sometimes calls us to lifelong struggles with dark despair. I wish I could give this book to everyone I have ever counselled or ever will counsel. It gives us a life-changing, gospel-saturated perspective on this very prevalent, painful, and confusing problem.
...a unique and timely volume from the pen of Zack Eswine, pulls from the works of Charles Spurgeon his words on a subject that can no longer be ignored because of its sweeping impact on believers and all of Christendom. Depression has moved beyond a series of bad days and seems to grip the hearts of many who claim the name and power of Christ just as did the great Victorian preacher... worthy of a read, especially by pastors and counselors and by any who suffer from the throes of despair.
You can almost taste Spurgeon's tears in this book... Eswine's gentle, poetic, unmasking of Spurgeon's inner turmoil may become a soothing balm for your soul. It may not heal you, but a healthy empathy emerges when you read about the struggles of a man who has walked down the same dark alleys you stumble along, and somehow found God in the valley of despair. If you don't struggle with depression yourself, it will help you love those who do!
Zack Eswine's beautifully crafted Spurgeon's Sorrows is poetry for the soul. Weaving Spurgeon's acquaintance with depression with his own, Zack gives language to the honest struggle of the weary. He kindly invites sufferers, and their fellow sojourners, to breathe what is true, offering grace-filled help and real hope. An exquisite book.
...Poetic, poignant, and platitude-free, this shimmering treasure of a book may literally save your life or the life of someone you love.
What a comfort to know that a great man was very human, a "man of like passions." The grace that came through his preaching also lifted his soul. It is a comfort to be reminded of that great grace.
Zack Eswine is a pastor with the mind of a scholar and the heart of a poet. His wisdom gleaned from Charles Spurgeon's struggle with depression is theologically profound and pastorally lucid.
In an age of quick answers Spurgeon speaks beyond the grave with heart-felt understanding and solace. Those who know the pain of such suffering find in these pages a level of succour for the soul which both normalizes and gives hope...a rare insight into the experience of a ubiquitous problem.
Zack Eswine, like Spurgeon, a preacher, pastor, and no stranger to suffering... there is much encouragement, comfort and practical help to be found in this rich and poetic treasure.
For those struggling with depression and assuming they are confined to the sidelines because of their mental health, Spurgeon's example should serve as a great encouragement. Spurgeon knew what to do when the lights were on. And after awhile he knew how to take time off in the midst of darkness. We've much to learn here.

Eswine's book is poetic and mercifully short. There are sentences and paragraphs throughout that are life-giving. The writing is compelling and the type of language which resonates with one in the pit. To this end I pray that many who are battling depression will read this book and hold onto these tiny morsels.

Spurgeon's Sorrows is biography meets pastoral exhortation. In taking us through the suffering of CH Spurgeon, Eswine encourages the reader to heed the words and life of this hero of the faith. Pastors deal with enormous emotional struggles by bearing the burdens of an entire flock and standing on the frontline of spiritual warfare. Couple that with personal tragedy and a predisposed temperament towards melancholy and the struggle grows exponentially. Enter Charles Spurgeon.

Eswine uses the events of Spurgeon's life and ministry to help the reader try to understand depression, to help those with depression, and to cope with it ourselves. This book is full of wisdom and grace and will serve the Church well. It is short and easy to read and deserves a broad audience. Spurgeon's Sorrows bears the subtitle of "Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression." It offers that and so much more.

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  1. St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Spurgeon's own personal thoughts and experience shed's light on those struggling with depression in the Church today
    March 3, 2015
    Bob Hayton
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Christianity is a religion of the heart, and Evangelicalism especially emphasizes personal conversion and spiritual transformation. Our churches are very good at diagnosing spiritual maladies and confronting the problem of personal sin. But we often stumble in our efforts to help those afflicted by mental anguish, physical suffering and especially depression.

    Depression directly contradicts the emotions that Scripture commends, and even commands. We are to "rejoice always" and to "count it all joy." So a common temptation is to chalk up depression to the category of self-inflicted pain and ultimately reduce it to a sin problem. The conservative tendency to distrust psychologists and especially psychiatrists only adds to the problem.

    Author Zack Eswine comments on this tendency:

    Religion offers both a challenge and a help to those who suffer mental disorders. This challenge surfaces when preachers assume that depression is always and only a sin. They pour gasoline on the fire and wonder why it rages rather than calms those they try to help. At the same time, studies today confirm that those with mental health challenges simply do much better if they are part of a religious community. (Kindle location, 495)

    This contemporary problem is not so contemporary after all. Charles Spurgeon the great Baptist preacher of the nineteenth century, was all too intimately acquainted with this problem. Eswine explores this little known side of the great preacher in his new book Spurgeon's Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression (Christian Focus, 2014). Spurgeon himself suffered from persistent bouts of depression. He sought medical treatment and at times took sabbaticals to restore his health. He was also never shy about admitting this problem, and his candor led him to be a magnet for those seeking help themselves.

    Eswine's book traces Spurgeon's history and his approach to discussing this problem and counseling those with the problem. Spurgeon's own personal thoughts and experience shed's light on that of many in today's church.

    Eswine writes with care and resists a simplistic approach to the problem. He doesn't shy away from spiritual considerations either. Spurgeon himself was like that. At times he spoke with great compassion of those afflicted by sorrows and despair, and at other times he challenged them toward greater faith. We are both physical and spiritual beings and no counsel is a one-size-fits-all solution.

    Even the darkest pits that depression can lead to were roads travelled by the preacher. He found solace in Elijah and Job and others who like him, had despaired of life and wished to die. Eswine quotes Spurgeon and crafts his book with care, trying to help the wounded and encourage them to find hope in a body of believers.

    The book is a bit disjointed and segmented. But that seems intentional, and is written with an eye to what those suffering from depression can withstand. Short chapters, brief thoughts, simple conclusions and applications. Encouraging thought and offering help without a judgemental attitude. One oddity in the book is the author's repeated use of Spurgeon's first name. This may be intended to be less off-putting for the depressed reader. It might make "Charles" seem more approachable. I found it jarring and odd, but that may just be me!

    There is much that caregivers can learn as well in these pages, and the author's use of Spurgeon's insights along with some contemporary authors, provides help in how to deal with those struggling with this problem in our churches today. I recommend the book and hope its message is a blessing and help to many.

    Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.
  2. Clare, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Pastor's Treatment of Charles H. Spurgeon's Depression and what it means for us today
    February 26, 2015
    Gazpacho
    Clare, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review is being written from the perspective of a fellow sufferer of depression. The book discusses a condition I have had a bent toward from my early years. I am not a psychologist, theologian, pastor, therapist, counselor, Bible student, professor, or church staff. I'm just a garden variety human being and found this book very readable and appealing.

    After reading through Spurgeon's Sorrows a couple of times I realized that it is a bit different from other books I've read that focus on depression. There seemed to be a sub-text that I didn't understand at first. The marked difference seemed to come from the heart of the author, Dr. Zachary Eswine. The writings indicated a poetic heart, a sensitive nature. This is not a textbook.

    I am a person who lives with a condition called Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression. I experience different mood swings in spite of the use of stabilizing medications. In reading this book, I immediately recognized the author's sense of empathy for those of us who live with depression as a matter of biology as well as for those who become depressed because of a sensitive nature or troubling circumstances. His non-clinical approach is a breath of fresh air. I didn't find any judgmental attitudes in any of his chapters. He writes out of a sincere desire to lend a helping hand.

    The author's arsenal is twofold: a gentle nudge toward understanding, and a surprising revelation for Christians who may recognize the prolific works of Charles H. Spurgeon. In the author's words, "How is it then that this preacher could stand up publicly in a congregation and talk so openly about depression? He was a mega-church pastor, one of the first ever. It was the 1800's. He was British, Victorian, and Baptist. How was a guy like that talking so openly about a subject like this?" Apparently, there was as much need then as there is today for one believer to stand along side another believer, and any sufferer of depression, in commiserating companionship. It definitely doesn't come naturally. We all need a push to get us moving in the right direction.

    The book is divided into three parts:

    Part I: Trying to Understand Depression

    Part II: Learning How to Help Those Who Suffer from Depression

    Part III: Learning Helps--How to Daily Cope with Depression

    It contains numerous quotes from Charles Spurgeon's sermons, cited at the end of each of the 12 short chapters. I think its greatest appeal would be for pastors, Bible teachers, therapists, counselors and theologians. However, excerpts are short and to the point. For a person studying the Bible and wants to understand how God views depression and sorrow, this makes a fascinating study.

    One of the most impressive facets I appreciate in this book is the way Pastor Eswine gives us three godly examples of how depression, heaviness of soul, the troubled spirit and even the mentally ill ought to be understood. First we have Pastor Eswine himself, who has experienced deep sorrow and trouble in his life. Then we have the passionate, fiery, historical figure of Charles Spurgeon whose prolific writings and sermons inspire hundreds every day. Finally, both pastors point to Jesus, a "man of sorrows" who was sorely afflicted on our behalf. He knows and understands the burdens we carry because He carried them too once.

    One of my favorite aspects of this writing was learning of Spurgeon's own torments and melancholy intensified by a tragic incident that occurred while he was preaching. This was part of his life I had never known about before reading this book.

    Finally, Chapter 6 caught my interest. It explores the language God uses in the Bible toward the troubled, and the way He communicates His heart to us. He uses metaphors and similes to ease the suffering and help us understand. "Since depression is a condition that is almost unimaginable to anyone who has not known it, its diagnosis (and aid) depends on metaphors." We endure winters. We are bruised like a cluster of grapes, trodden in the wine-press, waves of agony roll over us, and so on. The use of such word pictures and metaphorical phrases encourages our neighbors and fellow Christians to grow in understanding, empathy and helpfulness.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC)on behalf of Christian Focus Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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