Sweet affliction! Sweet affliction!
Spurgeon, “A Mystery! Saints Sorrowing and Jesus Glad!”
John 11:14, 15. “I am glad for your sakes that I was not there.”
The more beloved by God you are
the more of the rod you shall have!
Jesus is glad that your husband is taken away, that your
child is buried; glad that your business does not prosper.
He is glad that you have those pains and aches, and that
you have so weak a body, to the intent that you may
believe. You would never have possessed the precious
faith which now supports you, if the trial of your faith had
not been like unto fire.
Faith untried may be true faith,
but it is sure to be little faith.
Our Lord in his infinite wisdom and superabundant love,
sets so high a value upon his people’s faith, that he will not
screen them from those trials by which faith is strengthened.
There is no faith so precious as that
which lives and triumphs in adversity!
Untried faith is always small in stature; and it is likely to remain
dwarfish so long as it is without trials. There is no room in the
'placid pools of ease' for faith to gain leviathan proportions, she
must dwell in the 'stormy sea' if she would be one of the chief of
the people of God.
You never know your own weakness until you have been
compelled to go through the rivers; and you would never
have known God’s strength had you not been supported
amid the water-floods.
Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more
she is exercised with tribulation, and the more she has been
cast down, and lifted up again.
Oh, blessed axe of sorrow, which clears a pathway for me to
my God by cutting down the thick trees of my earthly comforts!
When I say, “My mountain stands firm, I shall never be moved,”
the visible fortification, rather than the Invisible Protector, engages
my attention. But when the great earthquake shakes the rocks,
and the mountain is swallowed up, I fly to the immovable Rock
of Ages to build my confidence on high.
Worldly ease is a great foe to faith; it loosens the joints
of holy valor, and snaps the sinews of sacred courage.
The balloon never rises until the cords are cut-
affliction does this sharp service for believing souls.
While the wheat sleeps comfortably in the husk it is useless
to man- it must be threshed out of its resting-place before its
value can be known.
Trial plucks the arrow of faith from the repose of
the quiver, and shoots it against the foe.
Trial is of special service to faith
when it drives her to her God!
Trials fetch us to our God, as the barking dog drives
the wandering sheep to the shepherd's hand.
Oh, dear friends, we are in much danger
of making idols of our mercies!
God gives us his temporal favors as refreshments by
the way, and then straightway we kneel down and cry,
“These are your gods, O Israel.”
It is of the Lord’s mercy that these
idol-gods are broken in pieces!
He blasts the gourds under which we sat in ample shade, in
order that we may lift up our cry to him, and trust in him alone.
The emptiness of the creature is a lesson we are so
slow to learn, and we must have it whipped into us
by the rod of affliction; but learned it must be, or else
faith can never attain to eminence.
The only wise God does not put his servants in 'hothouses'
and rear them delicately, but he exposes them to trial that
they may know how to bear it when it comes.
There is no fellowship with Christ so near and sweet,
as that which comes to us when we are in deep trials!
Then the Master unbosoms himself, and takes his child,
not upon his knee, but to his very heart, and bids him
lay his head upon his beating bosom.
Christ will reveal his secrets to you when the
world is against you, and trials surround you.
There are then special loves, special visits,
and special fellowship.
“Sweet affliction! sweet affliction!
Thus to bring my Savior near.”