Blog Entry

Spurgeon and the Hurricane of 1878

By Christian George Aug 29, 2017

Since last Sunday, Hurricane Harvey has pummeled the Gulf Coast of Texas with winds raging up to 130 miles per hour. Five people have lost their lives, 30,000 have sought shelter, and Houston—America’s fourth largest city— has become ground zero for rooftop evacuations and helicopter rescues. Our prayers continue to be with those who have lost loved ones, and for those deprived of food and shelter.

Charles Spurgeon can offer encouragement to those struggling in the storm. On Sunday, March 24, 1878, a hurricane struck London. At around 4:00 PM, Spurgeon was mediating on Scripture when the silence was broken “by the noise of doors and windows, and the terrible howling of the blast.”   

At that same hour, the H.M.S. Eurydice—a fully rigged, wooden British training ship—was sailing by the Isle of Wight when a hurricane capsized the vessel and killed 364 men. Four-year-old Winston Churchill, who happened to be standing with his nurse on a nearby cliff, watched the ship sink beneath the waves.  

Several weeks later, Spurgeon preached a sermon entitled “A Voice from the Sea” in which he referenced the hurricane that sank the Eurydice.

“Do not be happy, dear friend, till you are moored to the Rock of Ages.”

Spurgeon’s sermon comforted his wind-swept nation. And in the midst of our own hurricane this week, his words continue to balm those in need.

Here are twelve quotes from Spurgeon about how to press on in the midst of a hurricane.

 

1. “God seems to come very near to those who are on the waters.”

 

2. “We, too, shall weather this raging tempest . . . because the Lord has brought us into our desired haven.”

 

3. “‘It is I, be not afraid,’ sustains us amid the hurricane.”

 

4. “The storm has a bit in its mouth.”

 

5. “Our anchor is within the veil, it is where we cannot see it, but Jesus is there.”

 

6. “Happy is that man who can not only believe when the waves softly ripple to the music of peace, but continues to trust in him who is almighty to save when the hurricane is let loose in its fury.”

 

7. “There is a lull in the atmosphere after the hurricane which is not known at other times. Our sorrows have left a silver line of holy light behind them.”

 

8. “He can hush the hurricane to slumber, and lay the storm to sleep.”

 

9. “O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone! . . . Blessed storm that wrecks thee on the rock of ages!”

 

10. “He has not promised that you shall sail over a sea of glass.”

 

11. “At times the tempest has howled terribly through the gloom, yet there has always been a harbour: so that we have been enabled to outride the hurricane.”

 

12. “I see, in the center of that storm, a cross.”  

 

A Final Word

On August 18, 1880, Jamaica was also struck by a hurricane that devastated the island and killed thirty people. When news reached Spurgeon in London, the pastor used his platform to raise money for the rebuilding of the country.

Natural disasters have a way of testing denominational mettle, and Baptists (particularly Southern Baptists) are usually the first to arrive and the last to leave the scene of a catastrophe.

“And there was no longer any sea.” – Revelation 21:1

As Christians, let’s seize this opportunity to show the world we aren’t crossing our fingers when it comes to compassion. The name of Sunday’s hurricane was “Harvey,” which means “warrior” or “battle ready.” But don’t forget, we worship a warrior, too—a battle-ready Christ who walks on water, tames the tempest, and stills the storm. And one day, as John saw on the island of Patmos, there will be no more sea for Christ to still.

Until then, let Spurgeon’s words encourage, inspire, and equip you to practice the love we preach:    

“Press forward, beloved, and may the confidence of a joyous future make you bold to brave the tempest and the storm.”   

Click here to donate funds to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Fund.