The believer's chief troubles
(J. C. Philpot, "The
Golden Chain of Tribulation and Love")
As earth is but a valley of tears, the Christian has many
tribulations in common with the world. Family troubles
were the lot of Job, Abraham, Jacob and David. Sickness
befell Hezekiah, Trophimus and Epaphroditus. Reverses
and losses fell upon Job. Poverty and famine drove
Naomi into the land of Moab.
Trouble, then, is in itself no sign of grace; for it
inevitably flows from, and is necessarily connected
with, man's fallen state.
But we should fix our eye on two things, as especially
marking the temporal afflictions of the Lord's family:
1. That they are all weighed out and timed by special
appointment. For though "man is born to trouble as the
sparks fly upwards," yet "affliction comes not forth of
the dust, neither does trouble spring out of the ground."
2. That they are specially sanctified, and made to
"work together for good" to those who love God.
But the believer's chief troubles
and arise from . . .
the assaults of Satan,
the guilt of sin laid on the conscience,
doubts and fears about a saving interest in Christ, and
a daily, hourly conflict with a nature ever lusting to evil.