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Friends in Christ,
The Lord be with you.

Today's devotion is part of a lecture given by Charles Hayden Spurgeon (1832–1903) to his students studying to be pastors. His words of wisdom apply to all Christians in the midst of trial and struggle.

By all the castings down of his servants, God is glorified, for they are led to magnify him when again he sets them on their feet, and even while prostrate in the dust their faith yields him praise. They speak all the more sweetly of his faithfulness, and are the more firmly established in his love. Such mature men as some elderly preachers are, could scarcely have been produced if they had not been emptied from the vessel to vessel, and made to see their own emptiness and the vanity of all things around about them. Glory be to God for the furnace, the hammer, and the file. Heaven shall be all the fuller of bliss because we have been filled with anguish here below, and earth shall be better tilled because of our training in the school of adversity...

Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enemy's foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not his saints. Live day by day - aye, by the hour. Put not trust in frames and feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. Trust in God alone, and lean not on the reeds of human help. Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a failing world...

Continue with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you. Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith's rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her great Guide. 1

Spurgeon's words echo the words of St. Paul in Romans 5; “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (vv. 2b–5) They also echo the words of St. Peter; "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:6–7)

God uses all things for His good. He uses trial and suffering to shape and strengthen our faith in Him. But thanks be to God that it is not our strength that gets us through trial and suffering, but Him who forsaketh not His saints, whose strength and power is made perfect in our weakness, whose grace is sufficient for all our needs of body and soul. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Merciful God,
In this earthly life we endure suffering and trial, hardship and afflictions, before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us Your grace at all times to trust in Your holy will and continue steadfast in faith knowing that the sufferings of this present life are not worth comparing to the glory that is to come; though Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless and preserve you. Amen

Serving you in Christ,
Pastor Shawn Nettleton

  1. John Doberstein, ed., Minister's Prayer Book (Fortress Press, 1986), 229-227.

Rev. Shawn Nettleton is Senior Pastor at Saint John’s Lutheran Church. You can reach him in the church office, by email at or at 970-305-2420.