From Spurgeon's, "THE LOVED ONES CHASTENED"
Some Christians have fallen into error, and have been apt to
think, that if God lifts a man up, there must be some excellence
in him; but if God chastens and afflicts, they are generally led
to think that it must be an exhibition of God's wrath.
Now hear the text, and the riddle is all unriddled; listen to the
words of Jesus, speaking to his servant John, and the mystery is
all unmysteried-- “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten."
The fact is, that THIS world is not the place of punishment.
There may now and then be eminent judgments; but as a rule,
God does not in the present state, fully punish any man for sin.
He allows the wicked to go on in their wickedness; he lets them
go on unbridled in their lusts; some checks of conscience there
may be; but these are rather as monitions than as punishments.
And, on the other hand, God often casts the Christian down.
God often gives the most afflictions to the most pious; perhaps
he makes more waves of trouble roll over the breast of the most
sanctified Christian, than over the heart of any other man living.
So, then, we must remember that as 'this world' is not the place
of punishment. We are to expect punishment and reward in the
world to come; and we must believe that the only reason, then,
why God afflicts his people must be this:
“In love I correct you, your gold to refine
To make you at length in my likeness to shine.”
When God chastises his children, he does not punish
as a judge does; but he chastens as a father.
When he lays the rod on, with many blows and sharp ones,
there is not one thought of anger in his heart — there is not one
look of displeasure in his eye; he means it all for your good.
His heaviest blows are as much tokens of his
affection as his sweetest caresses.
He has no motive but your profit, and his own glory.
It is hard work for a child, when his father has been
chastening it, to look at the rod as a picture of love.
You cannot make your children do that.
But when they grow up to be men and women how thankful are
they are to you then. “O father,” says the son, “I know now why
it was I was so often chastened; I had a proud hot spirit; it
would have been the ruin of me if you had not whipped it out
of me. Now, I thank you, my father, for it.”
So, while we are here below, we are nothing but
little children and we cannot prize the rod.
When we come of age, and we go into our estates in Paradise,
we shall look back upon the rod of the Covenant as being better
than Aaron’s rod, for it blossoms with mercy.
We shall say to it- “You are the most wondrous thing in all the
list of my treasures. Lord, I thank you that you did not leave me
unafflicted, or else I had not been where I am, and what I am-
a child of God in Paradise.”
“I have this week,” says one, "sustained so serious a loss in
my business that I am afraid I shall be utterly broken up.”
There is love in that.
“I came here this morning,” says one, “and I left a
dead child in the house — dear to my heart.”
There is love in that. That coffin and that shroud will
both be full of love; and when your child is taken away,
it shall not be in anger.
“Ah!” cries another, but I have been exceedingly sick, and even
now I feel I ought not to have ventured out: I must return to my
bed.” Ah! he makes your bed in your affliction.
There is love in every pain, in every twitch of the nerve;
in every pang that shoots through the members, there is love.
“Ah!” says one, “it is not myself, but I have got a
dear one that is sick.” There is love there, too.
Do what God may, he cannot do an
unloving act towards his people!
O Lord! you are Omnipotent; you can do all things, but you
can not lie, and you can not be unkind to your elect.
No, Omnipotence may build a thousand worlds, and fill them
with bounties; Omnipotence may powder mountains into dust,
and burn the sea, and consume the sky; but Omnipotence
cannot do an unloving thing towards a believer.
Oh! rest quite sure, Christian- a hard thing, an unloving thing
from God towards one of his own people is quite impossible.
He is as kind to you when he casts you into prison
as when he takes you into a palace.
He is as good when he sends famine into your house
as when he fills your barns with plenty.
The only question is, "Are you his child?"
If so, he has rebuked you in affection,
and there is love in his chastisement.