‘But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord.’ Psalm 37:39.
Charles Spurgeon was a 19th century English preacher, of the “particular Baptist” persuasion. He is regarded as one of the greatest preachers of all time. I stumbled across this quote long after I had started this project, but I believe it perfectly nails down what I was trying to do. There are a number of wonderful things about this quote. First of all it admits a complete powerlessness and feeling of being overwhelmed by all the troubles around us. Secondly, Spurgeon admits no special magical wisdom or knowledge of what to say — he says he doesn’t know what to say. But I love the plan of action laid out here:
- 1) Pray for these people in times of suffering.
- 2) Sympathize with them. This doesn’t take any special temporal resources or even spiritual skill. Just sympathize. Oh, how the world could do with a bit more sympathy now!
- 3) Help where you can. Spurgeon doesn’t demand that you tie every loose shoelace in the world, just help where you can.
- 4) Finally, in what I believe to be an appropriate kind of despair: Cast yourself and them on the Lord. Just let him take care of it. I would also assert that “casting” someone on the Lord is one of the more compassionate things you can do. It is not indifference. It even brings to my mind a metaphor of throwing someone with great effort onto a stage or a hospital bed or a courtroom.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, we are ofttimes overwhelmed by the forlorned people we meet. We know that we cannot fix everyone’s problems. But help us to follow this example: Pray for the suffering. Sympathize with their plights. Show us how to help and give us the means and strength to do so. And finally, we cast ourselves and all our suffering family members, friends, acquaintances, and people on our hearts on you, O Lord. Give an immediate and temporal meaning to the phrase, “Salvation is from the Lord.”! AMEN.