“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches,
in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake:”
2 Corinthians 12:10 (KJV)
The title of our devotional today is a quotation from a truly remarkable preacher of the late 1800’s. His name was C.H. Spurgeon. His preaching alone was responsible for the first mega-church the world has ever known. He did not use gimmicks and business principles for growth to develop his church, he simply preached the Bible with extraordinary power.
His very remarkable memory, speed reading skills, and single minded devotion to preaching Jesus, were used of God to establish a ministry perhaps unequalled in the history of the Christian Church.
Yet, for all the blessing on his work for his beloved Master, he suffered physically and mentally for the greater part of his adult life. Spurgeon had a variety of illnesses including such painful ones as gout and Bright’s disease.
As a young preacher his fame in the British Isles was already so great that people would travel long distances to hear him preach. One evening he was scheduled to preach in the Surrey Gardens Music Hall, a vast auditorium that was filled with over 20,000 people eager to hear the young sensation preach.
During Spurgeon’s prayer before preaching several men strategically placed around the large audience began shouting “Fire! Fire!” the place quickly emptied and the crushing crowd trampled many people leaving them injured or dead. Spurgeon when into the first of numerous depressions that plagued him to his death.
The newspapers of Spurgeon’s day drew caricatures of him preaching and slandered him in many ways. His sensitive spirit was deeply wounded at the untrue things said about him in print. Yet, like Paul described in today’s text, he pressed on in spite of the abuse he suffered by others.
Perhaps today you suffer from a reputation that has been dragged through the mud by ignorant people who love gossip. They have believed lies about you and took great delight in passing on the untrue things they have heard. You may have realised that there is no way to salvage your good name because of the damage done to you by these people.
You are in the company of the finest believers who ever lived. Lies were told about Jesus, the apostle Paul, great preachers like Spurgeon, and others. Seek to find comfort in the knowledge that the Lord, your judge and theirs, knows the truth about you. The day will come when all lies are removed and the truth will be made known.
Come alongside Paul and find cause for rejoicing because your blessed Saviour will make everything known in that great day when all of humanity will be summoned before Him and truth will prevail. And in that day all of the suffering will be gone, physical and emotional. Glory will be your portion. Keep on until that time and you will rejoice that you were found faithful.