[b]God's file and flail[/b](Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")"God disciplines us for our profit." Hebrews 12:10What profit is in affliction? Afflictions are disciplinary. Afflictions teach us--they are the school of the cross. Affliction shows us more of our own hearts. Water in a glass looks clear--but set it on the fire,and the scum boils up. Just so, when God sets us upon the fire--corruption boils up which we did not discern before. Sharp afflictions are to the soul, as a soaking rain to the house; we do not know that there are holes in the roof until the shower comes--but then we see it drop down here and there. Just so, we do not know what unmortified lusts are in the soul, until the storm of affliction comes--then the hidden evils of the heart come dropping down in many places. Affliction is a sacred eye-salve, it clears our eye-sight. Thus the rod gives wisdom.Affliction quickens the spirit of prayer. Jonah was asleep in the ship--but at prayer in the whale's belly. Perhaps in a time of health and prosperity we prayed in a cold and formal manner, we put no coals to the incense. Then God sends some affliction or other--to stir us up to take hold of Him. "They poured out a prayer--when Your chastening was upon them." Isaiah 26:16. In times of trouble we pray feelingly and fervently.Affliction is a means to purge out our sins. Affliction cures the pestilence of pride--and the fever of lust. Affliction is God's file--to scrub off our rust. Affliction is God's flail--to thresh off our husks. The water of affliction is not to drown us--but to wash off our spots.Affliction is a means to wean us the world. The world often proves, not only a spider's web--but a cockatrice egg. Corrupting worldly things, are great enchantments. They hinder us in our passage to heaven. Affliction sounds a retreat, to call us off the immoderate pursuit of earthly things. When two things are frozentogether--the best way to separate them is by fire; so, when the heart and the world are together--God has no better way to separate them than by the fire of affliction.Affliction is a means to purify us. It works us up to further degrees of sanctity. "God disciplines us for our profit--that we may share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10.The vessels of mercy are the brighter for scouring. As you pour water on your linen when you would whiten it--so God pours the waters of affliction upon us to whiten our souls. Afflictions are in themselves bitter--but they bring forth the sweet fruits of righteousness. Hebrews 12:11.
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
WOW! That word is soooo good! When we understand God's love we will not run from trials!Understanding more of God's Sovereignty has also made me aware of all that is in my life and how it is from the loving hands of God. Now I see every trial as from the Lord to prune me, instead of blaming everything on Satan or others. Satan couldn't harm God's children without God's permission (Job).Affliction/suffering is a big part of True Christianity! When we endure such we will become fruitful.Affliction does expose the reality of our hearts and make us humble, more desperate for God! Reminding us we can do NOTHING without God.Paul and Peter understood this. They saw all trials coming from the Lord to make them more dependent on God, to be more genuine in the Lord.Christians need trials to perfect them. God even ordain the harlot system to be part of our pruning and making us more genuine in the truth! Yes, many things are ordain from God for the purification of His elect! WOW!Heb.5:88Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered