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SWEET AFFLICTION! SWEET AFFLICTION!
from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“A MYSTERY! SAINTS SORROWING AND JESUS GLAD!”
“I am glad for your sakes that I was not there.” John 11:14-15.
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.”
[Taken from page 134 of Grace Gems Collection 2000. It can be downloaded FREE from http://www.gracegems.org/bookstore.htm]
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