Because the Lord loves you!
“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6. “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.” Revelation 3:19. My Dear Friend, Because the Lord loves you–He appoints trials for you. Like most effectual medicines, they are neither pleasant to the taste nor in their operation, when first taken–but afterwards they yield a harvest of righteousness and peace. He sends them not for His own pleasure, but for our profit. He could relieve you in a moment, but He does not. The plain inference is, that it is good, it is best for us to be afflicted! I have had my trials, and I can from experience bear testimony to His all-sufficiency and faithfulness. He does all things well. How can He who is infinitely wise and good, do otherwise? “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12. (Letters of John Newton)
“Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD!” Deuteronomy 33:29. Were God’s ancient people distinguished among all nations for their privileges and blessings? Then much more happy are God’s spiritual Israel. They are redeemed from a viler slavery than that of Egypt, and with a more glorious manifestation of power and grace. Believers now have not the tabernacle in the wilderness, nor the temple at Jerusalem–but they have all the precious realities typified by them. They are not mere outer-court worshipers, but have access to the Holy of holies through the blood of the Lamb. They are not fed with the manna of the desert, but with “the True Bread of Heaven.” They do not drink of the waters of the rock of Horeb, but of the river of life flowing from the Rock, Christ Jesus. They do not have in prospect an earthly Canaan, but a heavenly city, whose builder and Maker is God. They do not have a temporal inheritance–but an incorruptible, undefiled and unfading inheritance! Israel of old had the shadows, Christians now have the substance. “Surely God is good to Israel–to those who are pure in heart!” Psalm 73:1. (Every Day! Author unknown, 1872)
“As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18. That very church which the world likes best, is sure to be the church which God abhors most! “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them!” 2 Timothy 3:2-5. (Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892) “We have learned to live with unholiness in our churches, and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a church meeting, where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to church with a stick of striped candy, in the form of religious movies, games and entertainments.” (A. W. Tozer, 1897-1963)
We have the unspeakable consolation!
“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32. We have the unspeakable consolation of knowing that the same divine and compassionate Redeemer who suffered, and bled, and died on for us–has the entire management of our affairs; and that nothing can happen in the course of providence, which is not appointed by Him “Who loved us and gave Himself for us!” In proportion to our persuasion of His love for us, should be our confidence in His government over us. And what proof of sincerity, or what pledge of love, can we desire–which is not given by His past dealings on our behalf? If He died for us on the cruel cross–then certainly He will now, when all things are put under His power, “make all things work together for our good!” We may rest assured that the love which He manifested for us on earth, is but a pledge of the love which He still bears to us–and that He will neither forget nor forsake us, until He has accomplished the grand end of His mission, by our deliverance from all evil, and our joyful entrance into the glorious kingdom of Heaven! Oh! how cheering to know, that amidst the joys of Heaven–Jesus has not forgotten any one of His “little flock” for whom He suffered in the garden and on the cross! (James Buchanan, “Comfort in Affliction” 1837)
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11. Having affirmed of the redeemed body that it was dead because of sin, the Apostle, as if anxious to rescue the saints from the humiliation of so affecting a truth, hastens to unveil the light which plays so brightly and cheeringly around each believer’s tomb. He shows that light to spring from the fact of the resurrection of the Savior. This doctrine is the grand luminary of the Christian system- it touches and gilds with its brilliance each cardinal doctrine of our faith. If Christ has not been risen from the dead, then is that faith vain and lifeless; but if he is risen, then each truth becomes instinct with life; and hope, like the day-spring from on high, rises with light and glory upon the soul. (Octavius Winslow)
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21. “It was good for me to be afflicted–so that I might learn Your decrees.” Psalm 119:71. This is just the difference between the Christian and the worldling: The worldling blesses God while He gives him plenty, but the Christian blesses Him when He smites him! He believes God to be too wise to err–and too good to be unkind. He trusts God’s heart–where he cannot trace God’s hand. He looks up to Him in the darkest hour–and believes that all is well. “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. (Charles Spurgeon)
If my pocket was full of stones! “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do You say?” John 8:4-5. If my pocket was full of stones, I have no right to throw one at the greatest sinner upon earth. I have either done as bad, or worse than he–or I certainly would have done so, if the Lord had left me to myself–for I am made of just the same materials. If there is any difference between myself and the greatest wretch–it is wholly of sovereign grace! “But by the grace of God I am what I am!” 1 Corinthians 15:10. (Letters of John Newton)