An Opal Ring And A Piping Bullfinch

Charles Spurgeon’s wife was an invalid for many years and usually unable to accompany her husband on his travels. She writes:

“One ever-recurring question when he had to leave me was, ‘What can I bring you, wifey?’ I seldom answered him by a request, for I had all things richly to enjoy, except health. But, one day, when he put the usual query, I said, playfully, ‘I should like an opal ring, and a piping bullfinch!’ He looked surprised, and rather amused; but simply replied, ‘Ah, you know I cannot get those for you!’”

Mrs. Spurgeon recalls how they “made merry” over her request for two or three days. Then one Thursday evening Charles returned from the church “with such a beaming face, and such love-lighted eyes, that I knew something had delighted him very much.” He held in his hand a tiny box, from which he took a ring and placed it on her finger. “There is your opal ring, my darling,” he said, and told her how he’d received it. An old lady whom Spurgeon had visited once when she was ill had sent a note to the church requesting that someone come and pick up a small gift for Mrs. Spurgeon. His secretary picked up the parcel and brought it to Charles, who unwrapped it to find the ring.

Mrs. Spurgeon writes, “How we talked of the Lord’s tender love for His stricken child, and of His condescension in thus stooping to supply an unnecessary gratification to His dear servant’s sick one…I can remember feeling that the Lord was very near to us.”

Not long after that God surprised Mrs. Spurgeon again. She writes,

“One evening, when my dear husband came from London, he brought a large package with him, and, uncovering it, disclosed a cage containing a lovely piping bullfinch!…He had been to see a dear friend of ours, whose husband was sick unto death; and, after commending the sufferer to God in prayer, Mrs. T– said to him, ‘I want you to take my pet bird to Mrs. Spurgeon, I would give him to none but her; his songs are too much for my poor husband in his weak state, and I know that ‘Bully’ will interest and amuse Mrs. Spurgeon in her loneliness while you are so much away from her.’”

She writes, “When ‘Bully’ piped his pretty song, and took a hemp seed as a reward from the lips of his new mistress, there were eyes with joyful tears in them, and hearts overflowing with praise to God, in the little room by the sea that night; and the dear Pastor’s comment was, ‘I think you are one of your Heavenly Father’s spoiled children, and He just gives you whatever you ask for.”

Mrs. Spurgeon reminds us,

“He who cares for all the works of His hand, cares with infinite tenderness for the children of His love, and thinks nothing which concerns them too small or too trivial to notice.” She concluded this story saying, “‘Bully’s’ sweet little life and ministry ended at Brighton; but the memory of the Lord’s tenderness in giving him to me is a life-long treasure; and the opal ring glistens on my finger as I write this paragraph.” (from The Full Harvest, The Autobiography of Charles Spurgeon)

Let us thank our Heavenly Father for his intimate care. Jesus reminds us, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Mt. 7:11) What a loving Father we have!

Bring all your needs and requests to him. Nothing’s too small or too great to ask – he even gives his children opal rings and piping bullfinches.

photo by birdtracker

Originally published Oct 28, 2007

  • http://www.judahupdate.blogspot.com Briana

    I absolutely love this, and it fills me with faith to ask and look to see when, where and how God will answer my prayers, both big and small. Thanks for taking time to tell us this story.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Hi Briana, yeah this is one of my all-time favorite stories. Glad you liked it.

  • http://speakingtothesoul.blogspot.com Nicole McLernon

    I love this! What a precious reminder of the Father's gentle care for us. Thanks for posting!!

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thanks Nicole, glad you liked it!

  • Elaine

    What a great story! Love how it shows the Lord's care for His children.

    Our daughter just experienced the Lord answering her prayers. Months ago when we learned about the WorshipGod conference, I asked her if she wanted to attend. She did but didn't see how she could afford it. I told her if the Lord wanted her there, He would make a way. Well, He moved it a big way! She won a free conference registration AND a free admission to Bob Kauflin's piano seminar through a random drawing. Although the conference really blessed her, she learned firsthand how the Lord hears and answers the prayers of His children. What a blessing He gave all of us.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Mark!

    • Mark Altrogge

      What a cool story, Elaine. I'm so glad your sweet daughter experienced her Father's care like that! One more opportunity I get to see God bless his children. Thanks for sharing it!

  • bananasandrice

    Beautiful!! He is so good!

    • MarkAltrogge

      Amen!

  • anonymous

    I just tonight, in tears, told my parents I was done praying for marriage. that it would never happened, that God is sovereign for sure and he may be good to others but certainly not to me, because my persistent prayer had led nowhere.

    after determining that my new request would be that I accept singleness and that it would quit hurting, I turned on my computer to read this story. If he could provide a ring so "randomly" AND a bird, maybe he could provide a spouse. maybe I will keep praying and hoping the Lord provides…and actually believing he will provide. thank you

    • MarkAltrogge

      Hi anonymous, I pray that our generous loving Father will provide a spouse for you. And I pray that he will assure you more and more of his deep love for you. He loves you so much he gave up his greatest treasure for you, his Son, Jesus, to shed his blood to purchase you for himself. I'm grateful this encouraged you – thanks for letting me know.

    • JohnPaul

      I like the idea of praying to accept singleness. Paul wrote about being content in whatever status is your lot. Maybe then God would release a spouse to you. Certainly He knows you want a spouse.

  • lisa

    Thanks, Mark, this was a wonderful first thing to read this morning (after scripture).

    • MarkAltrogge

      Along with your morning tea….thanks Lisa.

  • http://twitter.com/crossflight @crossflight

    What kindness. I almost started crying right here in Starbucks! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Mark Altrogge

      I'm glad you liked it @crossflight. I hate it when I start crying in Starbucks….

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  • highheartedly

    I am one of God's spoiled children! I totally love how he told one daughter to send a gift to another. Yes, he does that! He isn't limited by monetary means…Ah to thank him moment by moment. I thank him for you, and for this post which I have to send now to a friend. God bless you!

    • Mark Altrogge

      I'm grateful the post blessed you highheartedly. Thanks for encouraging me too!

  • JohnPaul

    Interesting that Mrs. Spurgeon asked her HUSBAND for these things. When he said he could not provide, the Father did instead.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Hey JohnPaul, I never thought of that…interesting observation.

  • http://www.macsopals.com/ macsopal

    Thanks Mark, this is a very beautiful story. It reminds me to be strong everyday even how hard life is. Thank you.