To Ponder:

“Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good.” Deuteronomy 8:5. “I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” Isaiah 48:10. I can truly say of everything I have ever tasted in this world of God’s mercy, (and my path has been remarkably strewn with divine lovingkindness), I feel more grateful to God for the bodily pain I have suffered, and for all the trials of diverse sorts I have endured, than I do for anything else. I am sure I have derived more real benefit, and permanent strength, and growth in grace, and every precious thing–from the furnace of suffering, than I have ever derived from prosperity. I know not how to quite express my meaning, but even depression of spirit and deep sadness have a particular charm within them, which laughter in vain may emulate. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted!” Psalm 119:71. Ponder and consider the much gratitude you owe to God for His chastening rod. Dwell much in your heart upon what God evidently regards as one of His distinguishing blessings. Do not lightly pass over, what God would have you consider. Count the cross and the rod to be doubly worthy of your deepest thought. “Heed the rod and Him who has appointed it.” Micah 6:9. Remember that whenever you are chastened, you are not chastened as a slave master smites his victim, nor as a judge orders the criminal to be lashed; but as a tender father chastens his son. Your chastisement is a sign of sonship, it is a token of love! It is intended for your good. Accept it, therefore, in the spirit of sonship, and “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, neither faint when you are corrected by Him.” It is the Lord your God who chastens you! If He were not your God, He might let you alone! If He had not chosen you to be His own, He would not take such care of you! If He had not given Himself to be your treasure, He might not be so diligent in weaning you from all other treasures! But because you are His, He will withdraw your love away from this poor world. Perhaps He will take one child after another from you, that all the love that was lavished on the children might flow towards Himself. Perhaps He will leave you a widow, that the love that ran in the channel of a husband may run altogether to Himself. Perhaps he will take away your riches, that the consolation you derived from them may be all derived from Him. Perhaps He will smite you, and then lay you on His own bosom, faint and helpless, that you may derive a strength and a joy from close and near fellowship with Himself, which you would never have had if it had not been that these other joys were removed. Bless God for your chastenings! Let the sweetest note of your music be to Him who, as a loving father, chastens His children for their good. “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son He receives.” Hebrews 12:6. (Charles Spurgeon)

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