There are not many times when any of us get too personal on this blog. However, on the back of a particularly difficult weekend in terms of how I am called to help my husband in ministry, these words are a fresh reminder of my need to keep the glory of God as my focus when tempted to react to situations that He has called me otherwise to be obedient and faithful. Therefore, I want to share, some of Susannah and Charles' story, and in particular, Susannah's response to her call to be a helper to her husband in ministry. Charles Ray writes in his biography:
The constant absence from home of Charles Haddon Spurgeon in fulfilment of his preaching engagements were sources of sore trial to the young wife. Often tired of waiting in the sitting-room late at night for his return, she would pace up and down the passage, praying that he might be brought back in safety to his home, and with what a thrill of joy and thankfulness did she open the door and welcome him, when his step was heard outside.Like Susannah, I have shed my bucket load of tears, not least this weekend! There are so many times that I doubt whether I can really cope being married to a pastor and his ministry! Yet, I know that God has called each person to live sacrificially in order that he can fulfil his purposes through us. Perhaps God is asking you to sacrifice some kind of comfort, finance, relationship or even your spouse, so that his Kingdom can be advanced.
Once and only once she broke down, when her dear one was about to leave in the early morning for a distant mission, and the tears could not be kept back. 'Wifey,' said her husband, 'do yout think that when any of the children of Israel brought a lamb to the Lord's altar as an offering to him they stood and wept over it when they had seen it laid there?' and when she replied in the negative, he added, tenderly, 'Well don't you see, you are giving me to God in letting me go to preach the gospel to poor sinners, and do you think he likes to see you cry over your sacrifice?'
'Could ever a rebuke have been more sweetly and graciously given?' says Mrs Spurgeon. 'It sank deep into my heart, carrying comfort with it and thenceforward when I parted with him, the tears were scarcely ever allowed to show themselves, or if a stray one or two dared to run over the boundaries he would say, "What! crying over your lamb, wifey?" and this reminder would quickly dry them up, and bring a smile in their place.'
For me, this weekend did not demand much from my life, except a willing and obedient spirit to support my husband and free him to to do his job. The irony of the whole weekend is that it was a quiet one in terms of preaching, or leading the church service, and yet, the small things he needed to do did not have my full support. My prayer once again is that God would forgive me and guard me from resentment and selfishness, and instead, grant me a willing spirit to lay daily on the altar the sacrifices he demands.