My meditation inspired by SOLITUDE SWEETENED by James Meikle (1730-1799)
"We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope."
"When HE has tried me, I shall come forth as GOLD." -Job 23:10
"Whoever brings an affliction, it is God that sends it." – Puritan Thomas Watson
Man is born to trouble as sure as sparks fly upward. We rejoice in the goodness and severity of our Majestic God. If the wicked are hurt by the best things in this life, it is also true that the children of God are bettered by the worst things. Per Romans 8:28, He has connected our good with His own glory, and is engaged by promise, to make all things work together for our ultimate advantage.
Sometimes God kindly sends afflictions to chastise us for sin or to curb our ravenous appetites for the things of this world. Yet, at other times He sends afflictions to exercise and improve our graces and prepare us for difficult service. These beneficial afflictions don’t show up randomly. James tells us to reckon it joy when we face flocks of trials. Some of God's favorite ones have, for wise ends, had the severest afflictions (Paul, Jesus, and John the Baptist come to mind, but then so did all of those whose lives were biblically recorded).
Affliction deadens the pleasures of sense and external, temporary things, and refocuses the soul to relish spiritual things. They create a longing for Christ and the Heavenlies. It moves the self-centered soul from the creature, and draws it near to God. Charles Spurgeon, whose life was full of affliction and pressure, said “He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made, or the only saint He ever loved.”
Affliction renders fellow men and the tasks of Earth tasteless and the world becomes desolate, inhospitable, and despised. Let us welcome whatever afflictions loosen us from this world and bring us nearer to God, denying ourselves, longing to be pure in heart, dead to this world, and increasingly pleasing to Him, who has clothed us with the Righteousness of His Son.
Whatever our affliction is, the infinite, perfect wisdom of Him who sends it should make us embrace and bear it without complaint. Every trial comes from God.
Take courage. He means your highest good. Never doubt it. Steadfastly believe that His heart loves, even if His face frowns!
"All is well that ends everlastingly well."