(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)
“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory! While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
It is good to know that there is a limit to affliction. It is but for a moment — it has its appointed end.
Not always will the war go on.
Not always will the seas be tempest-driven.
Not always will the rains descend and the fierce winds blow.
God weighs and measures, bounds and ordains, my sorrows!
For seven months Adolphe Monod lay in helpless suffering. Week by week his pain increased in its severity, until he had not a minute when he was free from it. But this was what he wrote:
“The Desert in the morning,
Gethsemane in the afternoon,
Golgotha in the evening!
Well, the Desert with Christ,
Gethsemane with Christ,
Golgotha with Christ!
This is better than all the pleasures of sin!”
And of these painful mornings and afternoons and evenings, God has fixed and foreordained an end!
It is good to know that there is a purpose in affliction.
It works for me, in my service, on my behalf.
Affliction does not rise out of the ground, nor fall on me by chance — as an unfortunate, aimless, undirected, capricious thing. (Job 5:6, Job 1:21)
Affliction is the instrument and agent of my Father in Heaven! By it He would . . .
teach my mind,
soften and expand my heart,
give new robustness to my faith,
add vigor to my prayers,
fructify all my graces and character.
There is a touching incident of Mr. Wodrow: He was much affected with his worthy son’s death — it being somewhat sudden and surprising. Yet he behaved very Christly under that sharp affliction. He went down to the place where his son’s corpse was. He stayed some time. They inquired what he had been doing there. “I was,” says he, “thanking God for thirty-one years’ loan of my dear son.”
These are the flowers of submission, of patience, of trust — which grow in the clefts of a breaking heart!
It is good to know that there is a coronation after affliction. It is the prelude to an eternal weight of glory! And the glory will be none the less — but all the more, because it has been heralded by the grief. I am fitted for the purity of the glorious inheritance, by the cleansing and refining discipline to which I am subjected on the way to it. I welcome its sunshine and rest, because I have been out in the midnight when the fierce gales were abroad. There are notes and chords in my everlasting song, which never could have been there, if I had not discovered in my afflictions . . .
the grace of the Father,
and the sympathy of the Son,
and the comforts of the Holy Spirit.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us!” Romans 8:18
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