Call Him 'Father' in the furnace
(Thomas Sherman, "Aids to the Divine Life — A Series of Practical Christian Contemplations" 1680)
"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good — that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:10-11
The afflictions of the wicked are punishments from God — as an angry Judge!
But the afflictions of the godly are chastisements from God — as a gracious Father!
The afflictions of the wicked, moreover, are preludes to their future misery!
But the corrections of the godly, are preparations for their future glory!
"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10. Under all afflictive dispensations, therefore, hold fast upon God; call Him 'Father' in the furnace!
Keep up honorable thoughts of God as to His dealings;
and low thoughts of yourself as to your deservings.
"All the paths of the Lord (in reference to His people) are mercy and truth," Psalm 25:10. In our affliction, God in mercy is fulfilling some of His faithful promises for our good. He will not allow His children to go on in the way of sin, without seasonable rebukes to bring them again to Himself. If you would, therefore, discern the goodness of God in your affliction, consider wherein you stand in need of it.