Trials, chastenings, afflictions...
From Spurgeon's sermon, "Threshing"
Trials are used by God to loosen our hold of
earthly things and break us away from evil.
This needs a divine hand, and nothing but
the grace of God can make our trials effectual.
When the soul ceases to be bound up with its sin,
and sin is no longer pleasurable or satisfactory,
then trials have had their intended effect.
Chastening and discipline have never accomplished their design until
God's people give up every form of evil, and abhor all iniquity.
Trials become needful for the sake of our usefulness--
We can only honor God and benefit men by being holy,
harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.
Eminent usefulness usually necessitates eminent affliction.
Judge not, O believer, that God hates you because he afflicts you;
but interpret truly and see that he honors you by
every stroke which he lays upon you.
Because we are his dear children,
therefore he will chastise us as a father.
In love he corrects his own children that he may perfect them
in his own image, and make them partakers of his holiness.
Do not judge according to the sight of the eyes or the
feeling of the flesh, but judge according to faith, and understand
that affliction is a token of God's delight in is people.
Not a stroke of our affliction is left to chance.
The Lord ordains it, and arranges the time,
the force, and the place of every trial.
The divine decree leaves nothing uncertain;
the jurisdiction of supreme love occupies itself
with the smallest events of our daily lives.
Every affliction is by appointment,
and the appointment is fixed by infallible wisdom.
Let this be a mine of comfort to the afflicted.
No form of trial is pleasant to the one who bears it; indeed,
each trial seems to the sufferer to be peculiarly objectionable.
We say, "I think I could bear anything but this sad trouble."
But happily the matter is left to the choice of One who
judges unerringly. What do you know about it, poor sufferer?
How can you judge of what is good for you?
"Ah!" cries a mother, "I would not mind poverty;
but to lose my darling child is too terrible!"
Another laments, "I could have parted with all my wealth,
but to be slandered cuts me to the quick."
There is no pleasing us in the matter of chastisement.
God's children never like the particular rod
with which they are chastened.
You find yourself crying--
"Any trouble but this, Lord. Any affliction but this."
How foolish it is to expect a pleasant trial;
for it would then be no trial at all.
Almost all effectual surgery is painful:
no trial for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous, yet it
is the right trial, and none the less right because it is bitter.
How foolish are we when we rebel against our Lord's appointment,
and speak as if we had a right to choose our own afflictions!
Are not these things to be left to a higher wisdom?
The Lord knows when it is best for us to drink of
the bitter cup which he has prepared for us.
Our heavenly Father knows best, and there we must leave it.
The instrument of the trial, the place, the measure,
the time, the result, are all appointed by infallible love.
Courage, tried friend, you shall be afflicted only as is needful
for you. Tribulation shall come only as you are able to bear it.
No saint shall be tried beyond the proper measure, and the limit is
fixed by a tenderness which never deals a needless stroke.
We shall never endure a excess of trials.
The Lord never sports with the feelings of his saints.
"He does not afflict willingly," and so we may be sure
that he never gives an unnecessary blow.