God's flail

(Thomas Watson, "The Ten Commandments")

God's children may sometimes be under sore afflictions.
They have no charter of exemption from trouble, in this
life. While the wicked are kept in sugar—the godly are
often kept in brine.

And, indeed, how could God's power be seen in bringing
them out of trouble—if He did not sometimes bring them
into it? How could God wipe away the tears from their
eyes in heaven—if on earth they shed none?

Doubtless, God sees there is need that His children should
be sometimes in the house of bondage. "If need be, you
are in heaviness." 1 Peter 1:6. The body sometimes needs
a bitter portion—more than a sweet one.

"You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison
 and laid burdens on our backs." Psalm 66:10, 11

Why does God bring His people into an afflicted state?

God gives affliction—to purge our corruption. The eye,
though a tender part—yet when infected, we put sharp
medicines into it, to purge out the disease. Just so,
though the people of God are dear to Him as the apple
of His eye—yet, when corruption begins to grow in them,
He will apply the sharp medicine of affliction—to purge
out the disease.

Affliction is God's flail to beat off our husks.

Affliction is a means God uses to purge out
sloth, luxury, pride, and love of the world.

God's furnace is not to consume—but to refine.

God gives us more affliction—that we may have less sin!

God also gives affliction to increase our graces. Grace
thrives most in the iron furnace.
Grace in the saints is
often as fire hidden in the embers; affliction is the
bellows to blow it up into a flame!

God sanctifies all our afflictions. They shall not be
destructive punishments—but medicines! They shall
corrode and eat out the venom of sin! They shall polish
and refine our grace! The more the diamond is cut—the
more it sparkles. The more God afflicts us—the more
our graces cast a sparkling luster!

The stones which are cut out for a building, are first
hewn and squared. The godly are called "living stones."
1 Peter 2:5. God hews and polishes them by affliction,
that they may be fit for the heavenly building.