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Beside Still Waters: Words of Comfort for…

Beside Still Waters: Words of Comfort for the Soul (udgave 1999)

af Charles H. Spurgeon (Forfatter), Roy H. Clarke (Compiler)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
2072130,774 (4.44)Ingen
A collection of Scripture-based readings that offer encouragement to individuals dealing with illness, loss, or other personal problems.
Titel:Beside Still Waters: Words of Comfort for the Soul
Forfattere:Charles H. Spurgeon (Forfatter)
Andre forfattere:Roy H. Clarke (Compiler)
Info:Thomas Nelson (1999), 384 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

Work Information

Beside Still Waters Words Of Comfort For The Soul af Charles H. Spurgeon


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Link to Original Review

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Beside Still Waters is a daily devotional that contains just over a year’s worth of daily entries. The entries are not dated, so you can take as long as you’d like to read through it without feeling constrained to a dated schedule.

I buddy read it with my Gran over the course of about a year and a half. We would each read the day’s entry, then share our thoughts with each other, which made reading through it a sweet experience I will always treasure.

There were some things I liked about the book and others that I didn’t.

Things I liked about it:

- The language used has been updated to be more seamless for the modern reader. (Some of Spurgeon’s writing elsewhere can feel a little dense and dated and thus requires more focus to get through at times.)

- The tone of the book is often very sweet and compassionate. Parts of it are beautifully poetic. I started reading through it after I lost my Dad and I found some of the entries comforting and gentle. Some of them even brought me to tears.

- The overall tone is encouraging and uplifting without being blatantly “breezy” (by that I mean breezing right on by hard things or sticking only to glossy subjects) or fluffy.

- The entries address a wide variety of circumstances, emotions, and seasons of life. I think most people could find entries that resonate with them to some degree.

Things I didn’t like about it:

- There are some passages that really did not age well. For example, on page 192, Spurgeon lauds Columbus’ voyage as having been arranged by God.

- There are a few entries in which Spurgeon paints God as an abusive tyrant with a big stick, which just does not line up with a faithful theology.

- There are a couple places where the stigma surrounding mental health that was more prevalent even a decade ago is evident. Spurgeon often tries to paint anxiety and depression as things that are incapable of existing alongside faith, which is just not true and is an idea that has been harmful to many people.

- There are a handful of entries which gloss over, diminish, negate, or attempt to bypass grief, loss, hardship, and deep spiritual wounds. They sometimes imply that we shouldn’t feel grief or pain because we still have God, regardless of who or what we have lost or what kind of pain we have endured. One passage says, “Our life is one long holiday when the Lord Jesus keeps us company,” in the context of someone who is walking through the valley of the shadow of death. There is an undercurrent of unhealthy coping that runs through some entries and attempts to invalidate the humanness of emotion, grief, and the process of healing.

- One entry suggests that healing of deep wounds should be immediate when we think about God’s love for us. While I realize that God’s love is healing and brings healing, the healing process is different for everyone and the time it takes to heal also varies, just as physical wounds do. Broad-brushing healing for everyone and reducing it to a singular experience that is put forth as the norm for all people who are hurting is not helpful.

- Some entries demonstrate a lack of awareness of the implications of the author’s ideas about God. For instance, one entry claims, “The most violent people could not move a finger if strength were not lent them by the Lord.” I understand what the author was trying to say here, but I found it poorly worded and couldn’t help thinking about the implications of that kind of theology of God. “So why does He lend it to them, then?” was the question I wrote in the margin. The page after that one claims, “Surely He who takes the trouble to give you a kingdom will not let you starve on the road to it.” Again, I understand what he was trying to say. But many people do starve. Words matter, and we have to follow our ideas through when we present them to make sure they align with a faithful theology. Glossiness and platitudes rarely correspond with reality.

- One entry suggests that poor people should just be content with their lot in life and trust God, excusing the people and systems that keep poor people poor instead of amplifying the social ethic Jesus taught. In another entry, Spurgeon tells people who have no income, friends, home, or health to focus on the fact that they have a Savior, therefore they “have all things.” Again, I realize what he was trying to say here, but it just doesn’t align with a loving approach when speaking directly to people who are homeless, jobless, and penniless (as he was in this entry). Telling people who have nothing that they have Jesus and then doing nothing to clothe or feed them goes against the values Jesus demonstrated.

- One entry claims, “Everything that happens to you is for your own good.” This is false and dangerous. While God promises to work everything out for good in the end, a lot of things that happen to people are just evil, crappy, and harmful. They aren’t for our own good and God doesn’t claim that they are (neither does the author of Romans). Abuse and other criminal offenses do not happen to us for our own good. That God might work things out for good later does not make the bad things that happen to us good. God brings and works goodness in spite of them. Evil is not good.

- He occasionally speaks using absolutes (always, never, etc.) which just don’t ring true. For example, on page 266, Spurgeon says, “Your faith will never be weak when you are weak, but when you are strong your faith cannot be strong.” Page 301 says, “Jesus’ power can only be perfectly revealed in His people by holding, keeping, and sustaining them in trouble.” (Emphases added.)

Overall, there were some really sweet sentiments and beautiful quotes throughout the book, but it is not one that I would recommend to a new believer or to someone who is not prepared to read it with discernment. ( )
  erindarlyn | Jan 25, 2024 |
"Beside Still Waters" came to my attention through a friend who is dying from Lou Gherig's disease. I have rarely read any book that reaches my spirit with comfort, encouragement, and hope as this one does. Roy H. Clark beautifully edited C.H. Spurgeon's sermons to provide 366 short devotionals that speak to those of us who are feeling crushed by life. I highly recommend "Beside Still Waters" for anyone experiencing trying times. ( )
  LynndaEll | Oct 30, 2010 |
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A collection of Scripture-based readings that offer encouragement to individuals dealing with illness, loss, or other personal problems.

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