January of 1893, a year after Charles Spurgeon died, his wife Susannah described a tender scene from her husband's study. Susannah, the caretaker of the Pastor's Book Fund, was at Spurgeon's desk to write a report about the Fund. (1) Her words reveal her heart, take the reader deep into her thoughts, and raise the curtain on her marriage to Charles.
I am writing in my husband’s study, where he thought, and prayed, and wrote. Every inch of the place is sacred ground. Everything remains precisely as he left it. His books (now my most precious possessions), stand in shining rows upon the shelves, in exactly the order in which he placed them, and one might almost fancy the room was ready and waiting for its master. But oh! That empty chair! That grave portrait over the door! The strange, solemn silence which pervades the place now that he is no longer on earth! I kneel sometimes by his chair, and laying my head on the cushioned arms which so long supported his dear form, I pour out my grief before the Lord, and tell Him again that. Though I am left alone, yet I know that ‘He hath done all things well.’ Then wandering from room to room, looking with tear-dimmed eyes at the home treasures my dear one loved and admired, almost expecting to hear the sound of his footsteps behind me, and the sweet tones of his tender voice in loving greeting,--I have, alas! to realize afresh how true were King David’s words when he said in his sorrow, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.’ (2)
Spurgeon was a man of prayer and the books that surrounded his desk helped him in his preaching, writing, and understanding of Scripture. As Susannah worked from his study (as she often did) she remembered her beloved husband and cried out to God in prayer. Prayer was Charles and Susannah's response to difficulty while he was alive, and nothing changed on that front for Susannah after he died. As she knelt beside his chair and prayed from a grieving heart, her faith was strengthened as she remembered the faithfulness of God. While Susannah "wandered from room to room" she brought words from the Bible to her mind and was comforted.
Where do you go with your grief? God's Word is available to you just it was to Susannah Spurgeon in her grief. God's ears are ready to receive your humble cries.
1.The Pastor's Book Fund began in the summer of 1875 after Charles Spurgeon completed the first volume of Lectures to My Students. Susannah Spurgeon was so moved after reading it that she articulated to Charles her desire to give a copy to "every minister in England." He responded, "Then why not do so?" He then challenged her to be the first donor to the fund, which she did. She supplied the money to send out the first hundred copies of Lectures and "the Book Fund was inugurated." Charles Ray, The Life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1903), 370.
2. Mrs. C.H. Spurgeon, Ten Years After!: A Sequel to 'Ten Years of My Life in the Service of the Book Fund,' (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1895), 213.
Ray Rhodes is President of Nourished in the Word Ministries (NITW). NITW is a teaching, writing, and resource ministry. Ray is married to Lori and they live in North Georgia. Ray is a doctoral student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.