(Octavius Winslow, "Evening Thoughts")

"For God makes my heart soft, and the
 Almighty troubles me." Job 23:16

The hour of affliction is the hour of softening . . .
  the hardness of the heart yields,
  the callousness of the spirit gives way,
  the affections become tender,
  conscience is more susceptible.

The hour of softening is the season . . .
  of holy abstraction,
  of meditation,
  of prayer,
  of withdrawment from the world and
from creature delights, while the soul
is more closely shut in with God.

The heart, now emptied, humbled, and softened
is prepared for the work of the Spirit; and what
an impression is then made! What discoveries of
God's love to the soul! What enlarged views . . .
  of the personal glory of Christ,
  of the infinite perfection of His work,
  of the preciousness of the atoning sacrifice,
  of the hatefulness of sin, and
  of the beauty of holiness!