Things like this are not easy to read or accept, but I would like to share with you a section from Thomas Brooks’ “A Mute Christian under the Smarting Rod of God: Comfort for Suffering Saints,” originally published in 1659. It has been helpful to me. You may find the complete book in a PDF file at http://www.ChapelLibrary.org
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes.”—Psalm 119:71.
“A gracious soul secretly concludes, as stars shine brightest in the night, so God will make my soul shine and glisten like gold, while I am in this furnace, and when I come out of the furnace of affliction. “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Surely, as the taste of honey opened Jonathan’s eyes, so this cross, this affliction shall open my eyes. By this stroke I shall come to have a clearer sight of my sins and of myself, and a fuller sight of my God (Job 33:27-28; 40:4-5; 13:1-7)!
Surely this affliction shall proceed in the purging away of my dross (Isa 1:25)!
Surely as plowing of the ground kills the weeds, and harrowing breaks hard clods, so these afflictions shall kill my sins and soften my heart (Hos 5:15; 6:1-3)!
Surely as the plaster draws out the infectious core, so the afflictions which are upon me shall draw out the core of pride, the core of self-love, the core of envy, the core of earthliness, the core of formality, the core of hypocrisy (Psa 119:67, 71)!
Surely by these afflictions, the Lord will crucify my heart more and more to the world and the world to my heart (Gal 6:14; Psa 131:1-3)!
Surely by these afflictions, the Lord will keep pride from my soul (Job 33:14-21)!
Surely these afflictions are but the Lord’s pruning-knives, by which He will bleed my sins, and prune my heart, and make it more fertile and fruitful! They are but the Lord’s potion, by which He will clear me, and rid me of those spiritual diseases and maladies which are most deadly and dangerous to my soul! Affliction is such a healing potion, as will carry away all soul-diseases, better than all other remedies (Zech 13:8-9)!
Surely these afflictions shall increase my spiritual communion with God (Rom 5:3-4)!
Surely by these afflictions, I shall be made to partake more of God’s holiness (Heb12:10)! As black soap makes white clothes, so do sharp afflictions make holy hearts!
Surely by these afflictions, the Lord will draw out my heart more and more to seek Him! “In their afflictions they will seek me early” (Hos 5:15)! In times of affliction,Christians will industriously, speedily, early seek unto their Lord!
Surely by these trials and troubles, the Lord will fix my soul more than ever upon the great concernments of the eternal world (Joh 14:1-3; Rom 8:17, 18; 2 Cor 4:16-18)!
Surely by these afflictions the Lord will work in me more tenderness and compassion towards those who are afflicted (Heb 10:34, 13:3)!
Surely these afflictions are but God’s love-tokens! “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Rev 3:19)! So says the holy Christian, “O my soul! be quiet, be still. All is sent in love, all is a fruit of divine favor. I see honey upon the top of every twig; I see the rodis but a rosemary branch; I have sugar with my gall, and wine with my wormwood; therefore be silent, O my soul!”
Afflictions abase the carnal attractions of the world outside us that might entice us!
Affliction abates the lustiness of the flesh within us that might otherwise ensnare us!
Afflictions humble us and keep us low! Holy hearts will be humble under the afflicting hand of God. When God’s rod is upon their backs, their mouths shall be in the dust!
A godly heart will lie lowest, when the hand of God is lifted highest.
All this proves that affliction is a mighty advantage to us! ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted…’ Psalm 119:71).”
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