(J. C. Philpot, "The Afflicted Remnant" 1845)"I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." Isaiah 48:10What benefit is there in afflictions?Does God send them without an object in view?Do they come merely, as the men of the world think,by chance? No! There is benefit intended by them.The branch cannot bear fruit unless it be pruned.The love of sin cannot be cast out; the soul cannotbe meekened, humbled, softened, and made contrite;the world cannot be embittered; the things of timeand sense cannot be stripped of their false hue andtheir magic appearance--except through affliction.Our greatest blessings usually spring from our greatestafflictions--they prepare the heart to receive them; theyempty the vessel of the poisonous ingredients whichhave filled it, and fit it to receive gospel wine and milk.To be without . . . these afflictions, these griefs, these trials, these temptations,is to write ourselves destitute of grace.But our coward flesh shrinks from them!We are willing to walk to heaven; but not to walkthere in God's way. Though we see in the Scripturethat the path to glory is a rough and rugged way;yet when our feet are planted in that painful andtrying path, we shrink back; our coward flesh refusesto walk in that road.God therefore, as a sovereign, brings those afflictionsupon us which He sees most fit for our profit and Hisglory, without ever consulting us, without ever allowingus a choice in the matter.And He will generally cause our afflictions to come fromthe most unexpected source, and in a way most cuttingto our feelings--in the way that of all others we wouldleast have chosen--and yet in a way which of all others,is most for our profit.God deals with us like a surgeon dealing with adiseased organ. How painful the operation!How deep the knife cuts!How long it may be before the wound is healed!Yet every stroke of the knife is indispensable!A skillful and faithful surgeon would not do hisduty if he did not dissect it to the very bottom.As pain before healing is necessary, and must beproduced by the knife; so spiritually, we must bewounded and cut in our souls, as long, and asdeeply as God sees needful, that in His owntime we may receive the consolation.Do the afflictions we pass through humble us?Do they deaden the love of the world in our hearts?Do they purge out hypocrisy?Do they bring us more earnestly to the throne of grace?Do they discover to us sins that we have not before seen?Do they penetrate into our very hearts?Do they lay bare the corrupt fountain that we carry within us?Do they search and test us before a heart-searching God?Do they meeken and soften our spirit?"I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." Isaiah 48:10
thank you brother these are lifting to my soul..Knowing my God work all things for those He loves, even the hardship and suffeirng and sickness. It is my prayer, and struggle to turst and know my sickness is good. Blessing charlene
(Henry Law, "Comfort for Mourners")"Every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:2God's knife is sharp, but it removes encumberingbranches. The process is not purposeless.Lasting impressions come from heavy blows.These rigid means are now astir . . . to wean you from the world, whose ways are death; to unmask the hollow treachery of 'creature charms'; to expose the utter vanity of earth's delights.The lesson is now taught, that all is 'fleetingemptiness' apart from God. He, and He only, is . . . the unfailing portion; a cup of overflowing joy; a garden in which calm happiness isever blooming, ever fragrant, ever new.
"Practical Directions How to Grow in Grace and MakeProgress in Piety" Archibald Alexander (1772-1851)For your more rapid growth in grace, some of youwill be cast into the furnace of affliction. Sickness,bereavement, bad conduct of children and relatives,loss of property or of reputation, may come upon youunexpectedly and press heavily on you.In these trying circumstances, exercise patience andfortitude. Be more solicitous to have the afflictionsanctified, than removed.Glorify God while in the fire of adversity. That faithwhich is most tried is commonly most pure and precious.Learn from Christ how you ought to suffer.Let perfect submission to the will of God be aimed at.Never indulge a murmuring or discontented spirit.Repose with confidence on the promises.Commit all your cares to God.Make known your requests to Him by prayer.Let go your too eager grasp of the world.Become familiar with death and the grave.Wait patiently.
by J.C. RyleMany of God's children get on very wellso long as they have no trials.They follow Christ very tolerably in the time of fair weather.They fancy they are trusting Him entirely.They flatter themselves they have cast every care on Him.They obtain the reputation of being very good Christians.But suddenly some unlooked-for trial assails them--Their property makes itself wings and flies away.Their own health fails.Death comes up into their house.Tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word.And where now is their faith?Where is the strong confidence they thought they had?Where is their peace, their hope, their resignation?Alas, they are sought for and not found.They are weighed in the balances and found lacking.Fear and doubt and distress and anxiety break in uponthem like a flood, and they seem at their wits' end.I know that this is a sad description.I only put it to the conscience of every real Christian,WHETHER IT IS NOT CORRECT AND TRUE.The plain truth is that there is no literal and absolute perfectionamong true Christians, so long as they are in the body.The best and brightest of God's saints is but a poor mixed being.Converted, renewed, and sanctified through he be,HE IS STILL COMPASSED WITH INFIRMITY!There is not a just man upon earth that always does good andsins not. In many things we all offend.A man may have true saving faith and yet not have it alwaysclose at hand and ready to be used (Eccles. 7:20; James 3:2).I beseech every reader of this to remember this.It is a lesson worth attention.The apostles believed in Christ, loved Christ,and gave up all to follow Christ.And yet you see in this storm the apostles were afraid.Learn to be charitable in your judgement of them.Learn to be moderate in your expectations from your own heart.Contend to the death for the truth that no man is a trueChristian who is not converted and is not a holy man.But allow that a man be converted, have a new heart, and bea holy man, and yet be liable to infirmity, doubts, and fears.
The Benefits of AfflictionLETTER XXXIII by John NewtonMy dear Madam,I have often preached to others of the benefit of affliction; but my own path for many years has been so smooth, and my trials, though I have not been without trials, comparatively so light and few, that I have seemed to myself to speak by rote upon a subject of which I had not a proper feeling. Yet the many exercises of my poor afflicted people, and the sympathy the Lord has given me with them in their troubles, has made this a frequent and favourite topic of my ministry among them. The advantages of afflictions, when the Lord is pleased to employ them for the good of his people, are many and great. Permit me to mention a few of them; and the Lord grant that we may all find those blessed ends answered to ourselves, by the trials he is pleased to appoint us.Afflictions quicken us to prayer. It is a pity it should be so; experience testifies that a long course of ease and prosperity, without painful changes, has an unhappy tendency to make us cold and formal in our secret worship; but troubles rouse our spirits, and constrain us to call upon the Lord in good earnest, when we feel a need of that help which we only can have from him.They are useful, and in a degree necessary, to keep alive in us a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world, and all its enjoyments; to remind us that this is not our rest, and to call our thoughts upwards, where our true treasure is, and where our conversation ought to be. When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, It is good to be here. It is probable, that had Moses, when he came to invite Israel to Canaan, found them in prosperity, as in the days of Joseph, they would have been very unwilling to remove; but the afflictions they were previously brought into made his message welcome. Thus the Lord, by pain, sickness, and disappointments, by breaking our cisterns and withering our gourds, weakens our attachment to this world, and makes the thought of quitting it more familiar and more desirable.A child of God cannot but greatly desire a more enlarged and experimental acquaintance with his holy word; and this attainment is greatly promoted by our trials. The far greater part of the promises in Scripture are made and suited to a state of affliction; and, though we may believe they are true, we cannot so well know their sweetness, power, and suitableness, unless we ourselves are in a state to which they refer. The Lord says, " Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver."- Now till the day of trouble comes, such a promise is like a city of refuge to an Israelite, who not having slain a man, was in no danger of the avenger of blood. He had a privilege near him, of which he knew not the use and value, because he was not in the case for which it was provided. But some can say, " I not only believe this promise upon the authority of the speaker, but I can set my seal to it: I have been in trouble; I took this course for relief, and I was not disappointed. The Lord verily heard and delivered me." Thus afflictions likewise give occasion of our knowing and noticing more of the Lord's wisdom, power, and goodness, in supporting and relieving, than we should otherwise have known.I have not time to take another sheet, and must therefore contract my homily. Afflictions evidence to ourselves, and manifest to others, the reality of grace. And when we suffer as Christians, exercise some measure of that patience and submission and receive some measure of these supports and supplies, which the Gospel requires and promises to believers, we are more confirmed that we have not taken up with mere notions; and others may be convinced that we do not follow cunningly devised fables. They likewise strengthen by exercise our graces: as our limbs and natural powers would be feeble if not called to daily exertion; so the graces of the Spirit would languish, without something provided to draw them out to use! And, to say no more, they are honourable, as they advance our conformity to Jesus our Lord, who was a man of sorrows for our sake. Methinks, if we might go to heaven without suffering, we should be unwilling to desire it. Why should we ever wish to go by any other path than that which he has consecrated and endeared by his own example? especially as his people's sufferings are not penal; there is no wrath in them; the cup he puts in their hands is very different from that which he drank for their sakes, and is only medicinal to promote their chief good. Here I must stop; but the subject is fruitful, and might be pursued through a quire of paper.I am, &c.John Newton
Sayings by John Mason**Two things should comfort suffering Christians, namely, all that they suffer is not hell; yet it is all the hell they shall suffer. **Afflictions are not so much threatened as promised, to the children of God. **By affliction God separates the sin which He hates, from the soul which He loves. **Sin is the poison, affliction the medicine. **If the servants of Christ are ever so low and afflicted, yet His heart is with them, and His eye upon them. **God takes it unkindly when we grieve too much for any outward thing; because it is a sign we fetch not that comfort from Him which we should. **Though the hand of God may be against you; yet the heart of God may be towards you. **What is bearing a temporal cross, to the wearing an eternal crown? **Our enjoyments are greater than our afflictions, and our afflictions less than our sins. **Our sufferings should stir up our graces as well as our griefs.
"As many as I love I rebuke and chasten." Revelation 3:19 Are outward afflictions the ground of dejection and trouble?How do our hearts fail and our spirits sink, under the manysmarting rods of God upon us! But our relief and consolationunder them all is in Christ Jesus; for the rod that afflicts usis in the hand of Christ who loves us! His design in afflictionis our profit. Hebrews 12:10. That design of His for our goodshall certainly be accomplishedand after that no moreafflictions forever! "God shall wipe away all tears fromtheir eyes." Revel. 21:3. Thus two things are most evident:1. Nothing can comfort the soul without Christ. He is the soulthat animates all comforts; they would be dead without him.Temporal enjoyments, riches, honors, health, relations, yieldnot a drop of true comfort without Christ. Spiritual enjoyments,ministers, ordinances, promises, are fountains sealed and springsshut up until Christ opens them; a man may go comfortless inthe midst of them all.2. No troubles or afflictions can deject the soul which Christcomforts. "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." 2 Corin. 6:10.A believer may walk with a heart full of comfort amidst all thetroubles of the world. So that the conclusion stands firmthatChrist, and Christ only, is the consolation of believers.John Flavel
[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=89]Joy Out of Travail by T.A.Sparks[/url]"So God established this painful way, this suffering way as the only way as He could recover and establish the law of values, a preciousness, to save man from his superficiality in regard to the most costly thingsAnything that comes from God will sooner or later, pass into the realm of suffering, into the realm of travail to find out how much value we put upon it, how much it really means to us, how much we have seen of God in it, it will become a matter of life or death."
Tears_of_joy wrote:Oh! consider, how by former afflictions the Lord hasrevealed sin, prevented sin, and mortified sin!Consider how the Lord by former afflictions has meltedyour heart, and broken your heart, and humbled yourheart, and prepared your heart for clearer, fuller, andsweeter enjoyments of Himself!Consider what room former afflictions have madein your soul for God, for His word, for good counsel,and for divine comfort!Consider how by former afflictions the Lord has madeyou more partaker of His Christ, His Spirit, His holiness,His goodness, etc.Consider how by former afflictions the Lord has madeyou to look towards heaven more, to mind heaven more,to prize heaven more, and to long for heaven more, etc.Now, who can seriously consider all the good that hehas gotten by former afflictionsand not be silent underpresent afflictions?