December: Trials and PainThe devil, things and people being what they are, it is necessary forGod to use the hammer, the file and the furnace in His holy work ofpreparing a saint for true sainthood. It is doubtful whether God canbless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.The Root of the Righteous, 157.December 10Trials and Pain: Few Lovers of His CrossFor you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the willof God, you may receive the promise.--Hebrews 10:36When God needs a person for His service-a good person, an effectiveperson, a humble person-why does He most often turn to a person indeep trouble? Why does He seek out a person deep in the crucible ofsuffering, a person who is not the jovial, "happy-happy" kind? Ican only say that this is the way of God with His human creation....Ezekiel did not come out of pleasant and favorable circumstances.The light had gone out in his heart. He probably thought that Godtakes a long time to work out His will.Does not this same view surface in much of our Christianfellowship? We do not want to take the time to plow and tocultivate. We want the fruit and the harvest right away! We do notwant to be engaged in any spiritual battle that takes us into thelong night. We want the morning light right now! We do not want togo through the processes of planning and preparation and laborpains. We want the baby this instant!We do not want the cross. We are more interested in the crown.The condition is not peculiar to our century. Thomas a Kempiswrote long ago, "The Lord has many lovers of His crown but fewlovers of His cross." Men Who Met God, 115."Lord, make me a lover of Your cross as well as a lover of Yourcrown. Amen."