by John Newton
“Now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.” 1 Peter 1:6
The Lord loves His children, and is very indulgent to them so far as they can safely bear it–but He will not spoil them! Their sin-sickness requires strong medicines, some of which are very unpalatable. And when our case calls for such, no short-sighted entreaties of ours will excuse us from taking what He prepares for our good.
It is comforting to know that every dose is prepared by His own hand, and not one is administered in vain, nor is it repeated any oftener than is needful to answer His purposed end. Until then, no other hand can remove the affliction which He lays upon us. When His merciful design is answered, He will relieve us Himself; and in the mean time He will so moderate the operation, or increase our ability to bear it–that we shall not be overpowered by it.
Afflictions are useful, and in a degree necessary, to keep alive in us a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world and all its enjoyments; to remind us that this poor world is not our rest; and to call our thoughts upward, where our true treasure is, and where our hearts ought to be.
When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, “It is good be here!” Thus the Lord, by pain, sickness, and disappointments, by breaking our cisterns and withering our gourds–weakens our attachment to this world, and makes the thought of leaving it more desirable.
Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes, because we need them; and He proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires.
It is true, without a single exception, that all His paths are mercy and truth to those who fear Him. The Lord afflicts us for our good–but it is always a thousand times less than we deserve!
by John Newton