their Father's hand which chastens them!
(J. C. Ryle, "The
Blood of the Lamb")
God lays heavy trials upon His children for the most wise
and merciful purposes. We live in such a fair and pleasant
world, we are so surrounded with so much that is smiling
and mirthful, that if we were not often obliged to taste
of sickness and trial or disappointments, we would forget
our heavenly home--and pitch our tents in this Sodom!
This is why God's people pass through great tribulations.
This is why they are often called upon to suffer the sting
of affliction and anxiety--or weep over the grave of those
on whom our affections are set. It is their
which chastens them! It is thus He weans their affections
from things below--and fixes them on Himself! It is thus He
trains them for eternity, and cuts the threads one by one,
which bind their wavering hearts to earth!
No doubt such chastening is grievous for the time--but
still it brings many a hidden grace to light, and cuts down
many a secret seed of evil. We shall see those who have
suffered most, shining among the brightest stars in the
assembly of heaven. The purest gold is that which has
been longest in the refiner's furnace! The brightest
diamond is often that which has required the most
grinding and polishing!
"For our momentary light affliction is producing for us
an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory!"
(2 Corinthians 4:17)