From Spurgeon's, "THE SOLAR ECLIPSE"
God’s people are afflicted in order that they may not
go astray. “Before I was afflicted,” said the Psalmist,
“I went astray, but now have I kept your Word.”
Leave a Christian alone, and he becomes like a piece
of iron covered with rust; he loses all his brightness.
Take the 'file of affliction', and once more the
brightness becomes apparent.
Christians without trouble would be like oysters without
the sickness; they would not have produced pearls.
The pearl oyster would have no pearl unless some disease
had fallen upon it; and were it not that trouble lands upon
the Christian, he would live without producing the pearl
of a holy and contented piety.
God’s rods are improvers; when they are laid upon us
they always mend us.
God searches the Christian, that he may cleanse him of his weeds;
he ploughs him deep that he may turn up the subsoil to the air,
that the influence of the Divine Spirit may rest upon him.
He puts us into the crucible and into the furnace, that the heat
may burn away our dross and may consume all our impurities.
He sends us into the deep waters, that they may be like a sacred
baptism to us, and may help in sanctifying us, by delivering us
from our pride, our lust, our worldliness, and our conceit.
Happy is the man who understands this — who knows that
all things work together for good to them that love God,
and believes that even an eclipse of God’s countenance has
its end and design, in making him perfectly conformed to
the image of Christ Jesus the Lord.