Posts Tagged ‘Charles Spurgeon’
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him.” Luke 15:20
“The father “saw” his son. There is a great deal in that word, “saw.” He saw who it was; saw where he had come from; saw the swineherd’s dress; saw the filth upon his hands and feet; saw his rags; saw his penitent look; saw what he had been; saw what he was; and saw what he would soon be. “His father saw him.” God has a way of seeing men and women that you and I cannot understand. He sees right through us at a glance, as if we were made of glass; He sees all our past, present and future.
“When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him.” It was not with icy eyes that the father looked on his returning son. Love leaped into them, and as he beheld him, he “had compassion on him”; that is, he felt for him. There was no anger in his heart toward his son; he had nothing but pity for his poor boy, who had got into such a pitiable condition. It was true that it was all his own fault, but that did not come before his father’s mind. It was the state that he was in, his poverty, his degradation, that pale face of his so wan with hunger, that touched his father to the quick. And God has compassion on the woes and miseries of men. They may have brought their troubles on themselves, and they have indeed done so; but nevertheless God has compassion upon them. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.” Charles Spurgeon,
For reflection: When I read this story and Spurgeon’s remarks, I am challenged on ‘what I see’? I’m not sure I take much time to look. Here’s an exercise for us all to try:
1. Take time to look at someone today — a family member, a co-worker, a store clerk. What do you see? What more can you see if you look through the lens of the gospel?
Am I the only one who missed the San Diego ‘Fireworks Bust’? What words would you use to describe this? Mine are ‘stunning,’ ‘apocalyptic,’ ‘Oh, shoooooooo-tt. Your fireworks went blast.”
Wanta write? Tell a story to entertain youngsters. (Yes, you will need to hide all technical devices and perhaps offer anti-anxiety meds to get them to sit still and listen.) I never knew before the story of the creation of Alice in Wonderland.
Finally, for those who caught the the quote from Spurgeon’s fascinating sermon on Matthew 26, and Jesus’ anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane and want to take 15 (longer if you stop to think about it:-) to read the whole thing, “The Garden of the Soul”
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”
Who said that? And what happened next? You can (dare I say, ‘should’?) read the rest here. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2026:36-46&version=NIV
Strange as it may sound, I am deeply encouraged that Jesus spoke these words, the intensity and emotion of which English words apparently fail to fully grasp, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew that the time had come for him to drink the cup, and he asked his Father if it be possible, to let it pass from him. So very human, yet so very submitted to the will of the Father.
What cup? What’s in this cup he doesn’t want to drInk? Some say death, others point to Ezekiel 23:32 and say ‘wrath,’ others say the emotional separation from the Trinity, all agree on ‘suffering.’
All well and true, but today I discovered a new (to me) thought on the passage which gospel-girded me with new hope. I want to post a super-long quote here, but so-called blog ‘best-practice’ suggests I’ve already asked you to read too much, so I’ll just post a paragraph (okay,two) with the link to the entire sermon for all interested:-)! I’d love to know your response to this close-up on Jesus’ despondency. How does reading this story affect your hope in God?
Comment here or on the Living Story Facebook Page?
“Thus it appears to me that what He feared was that dreadful depression of mind which had suddenly come upon Him so that His soul was very heavy. He prayed His Father that that cup might pass away—and so it did—for I do not see in all the Savior’s griefs afterwards that singular overwhelming depression He endured when in the garden.”
Now, perhaps some of you may think that if this cup only meant depression of the spirits and dismay of the soul it was nothing of much significance, or at least it weakens the spell of those words and deeds which twine around Gethsemane. Permit me to beg your pardon. I know personally that there is nothing on earth that the human frame can suffer to be compared with despondency and prostration of mind. Such is the dolefulness and gloom of a heavy soul, yes, a soul exceedingly heavy even unto death that I could imagine the pangs of dissolution to be lighter!
In our last hour joy may lighten up the heart, and the sunshine of Heaven within may bear up the soul when all outside is dark. But when the iron enters into a man’s soul he is unmanned, indeed! In the cheerlessness of such exhausted spirits the mind is confused. Well can I understand the saying that is written, “I am a worm and no man,” of one that is a prey to such melancholy. Oh that cup! When there is not a promise that can give you comfort. When everything in the world looks dark. When your very mercies frighten you and rise like hideous specters and portents of evil before your view.” Spurgeon, sermon on Matt 26 http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols10-12/chs693.pdf
This isn’t a Pollyanna post. This is a reality check. Sarai did many things before she laughed…do I want to wait as long as she before I embrace God’s hilarious grace? Read this diamond from Charles Spurgeon:
“And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6
It was far above the power of nature, and even contrary to its laws, that the aged Sarah should be honoured with a son; and even so it is beyond all ordinary rules that I, a poor, helpless, undone sinner, should find grace to bear about in my soul the indwelling Spirit of the Lord Jesus.
I, who once despaired, as well I might, for my nature was as dry, and withered, and barren, and accursed as a howling wilderness, even I have been made to bring forth fruit unto holiness.
Well may my mouth be filled with joyous laughter, because of the singular, surprising grace which I have received of the Lord, for I have found Jesus, the promised seed, and He is mine for ever. This day will I lift up psalms of triumph unto the Lord who has remembered my low estate, for ‘my heart rejoiceth in the Lord; mine horn is exalted in the Lord; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation.’
I would have all those that hear of my great deliverance from hell, and my most blessed visitation from on high, laugh for joy with me. I would surprise my family with my abundant peace; I would delight my friends with my ever-increasing happiness; I would edify the Church with my grateful confessions; and even impress the world with the cheerfulness of my daily conversation.
Bunyan tells us that Mercy laughed in her sleep, and no wonder when she dreamed of Jesus; my joy shall not stop short of hers while my Beloved is the theme of my daily thoughts. The Lord Jesus is a deep sea of joy: my soul shall dive therein, shall be swallowed up in the delights of His society.
Sarah looked on her Isaac, and laughed with excess of rapture, and all her friends laughed with her; and thou, my soul, look on thy Jesus, and bid heaven and earth unite in thyjoy unspeakable. Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening