les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book review - Spurgeon's sorrows, by Zack Eswine

I was thinking the other day of how much we owe to fragile, damaged, broken men.

The greatest example for the British is Churchill. Opinionated and stubborn, he was hardly a role-model in terms of personal fitness or healthy living. He also suffered from what he called his "black dog", his depressive episodes. And yet he was a remarkable writer, painter and probably the greatest statesman of the twentieth century.

Christians will think of Martin Luther, of Cowper or, of course, of Spurgeon.

"Spurgeon's Sorrws", by Zach Eswine, is subtitled "Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression" and in this book Eswine has done a remarkable work of research and collation to scour Spurgeons writings and sermons to glean information but mostly helpful reflections on depression and how to deal with it.

En route he reminds us of some of the battles Spurgeon faced, both early in his ministry in the Surrey Gardens catastrophe as well as later on when he wrestled with his chronic ill-health. He shares Spurgeons reflections on his pastoral ministry to those in his congregation who struggled. He works hard to avoid trite or superficial responses and to encourage his readers to take depression seriously.

Readers will sometimes struggle with Eswine's style. He has spent a long time reading Spurgeon and sometimes he writes like a Victorian, kind of. Sometimes it's too flowery for a book from 2015. Now and again you will have to work hard to understand the structure of the writing. One paragraph had me baffled until the third time of reading. Yes, it's a fault. Writers should write clearly. It's about communication.

But this is a helpful book. Read alongside other volumes the reader will find lots of help either in facing depression or in helping others to do the same.

I received this book free in exchange for a book review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

No comments: