He smote her with a disease which deprived her of strength, destroyed her beauty, and left her deformed!
(James Smith, "Loving Rebukes" 1858)
"I know, O Lord, that in faithfulness You have afflicted me!" Psalm 119:75
"God disciplines us for our good — that we may share in His holiness!" Hebrews 12:10
As God loves His people with an everlasting love — He takes the deepest interest in their welfare, and rejoices to do them good. But love can frown as well as smile; rebuke as well as commend; and God's rebukes are often very pointed, and very sharp. "As many as I love — I rebuke and chasten." Revelation 3:19
Mary Scott was in a good situation, enjoyed many privileges, and was doing well; but she got vain, dressy, and carnally-minded. She thought too much of earthly things, and too little of heavenly things — and at length you could discern but little difference between her and the world! The Lord then laid His afflictive hand upon her — she fell sick, had to leave her pleasant situation, her little all was soon spent — and she is now poor, and totally dependent on friends.
But God has attended the painful dispensation with His blessing — so that she is now humble, spiritual, and heavenly-minded. Worldly things have lost their charms — and spiritual things appear all-important. She now deeply deplores her former worldly course. Her Bible is now her precious companion, and she finds sweet access to God at the throne of grace. She now looks forward to Heaven, rejoicing that there shall be no more pain, nor sorrow, nor crying. She often blesses God for her affliction! This was a loving rebuke from her heavenly Father!
Eliza Brown was naturally proud and high-minded, and thought only of her figure and personal attractions. Being brought to know the Lord — for a time she walked wisely, and was happy in God. But she gave way to her natural besetting sin of pride, carried her head high, and her heart became haughty. She soon lost the humility that was manifest in her life. Meekness and gentleness seemed to forsake her — and she became spiritually dry and barren. For a time this was allowed to continue — but at length the Lord came forth to rebuke her. He smote her with a disease which deprived her of strength, destroyed her beauty, and left her deformed!
At first, her heart rose in opposition to God — she kicked like a wild bull caught in a net, and spoke harshly of God. But the Lord followed her with stroke upon stroke, until at length her proud spirit yielded, she fell down before God, confessing her sin, and mourning over her rebellious feelings. Then the Lord sweetly breathed upon her soul, and she felt a sweet peace of mind; her heart melted like wax before the fire, and she cried, "Lord, do with me as seems good to You." Meekness, humility, submission, and acquiescence in the will of God now characterize her. And, though at times she finds the old feelings arise, and her natural pride work — she daily seeks grace from God, to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts. This was a loving rebuke from her heavenly Father!
"Before I was afflicted I went astray — but now I obey Your Word." Psalm 119:67
"It was good for me to be afflicted — so that I might learn Your decrees!" Psalm 119:71