Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
~ Psalm 34:19
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
~ 2 Timothy 1:8
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
~ Philippians 3:10-11
It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
~ Ecclesiastes 7:2-4
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
~ Romans 5:2-5
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
~ James 1:2
The Heaviest Afflictions On This Side Hell, by John Berridge.
A consolatory letter to a Christian friend, under severe afflictions.
I grant that your circumstances are very severe and difficult—but let me beg of you not to construe your afflictions as a token of God’s displeasure, or a sign of your not belonging to Him. This is an old temptation of Satan’s, with which he often assaults the afflicted Christian; but take the shield of faith—that you may quench the fiery darts of Satan.
Alas! Crosses and afflictions are the common lot of the people of God in this present world. Our Lord has told us, that in this world—we shall have troubles! Every saint has his own particular difficulties, temptations and conflicts to grapple with.
We are too apt to settle on our lees, too apt to be absorbed with the vanities of this passing world. We are now chastened—that hereafter we may not be condemned with the world.
Ah! happy afflictions—which wean us from this wretched, dying world! They are a means to mortify our corruptions; to teach us to live more constantly by faith in Jesus Christ; and to fix all our hopes and expectations on the eternal world of glory!
Sanctified afflictions are a thousand times rather to be chosen—than unsanctified prosperity. These afflictions may consist with, yes are often the effects of God’s special love. “Those whom I love—I rebuke and discipline.” Revelation 3:19. God sees that we need afflictions—and He knows that they will work for our good.
God is infinitely wise—and knows what is best for me. God is infinitely gracious—and will be tender of the weakest of His children. God is infinitely sovereign—and may do what He pleases with His own!
The heaviest afflictions on this side hell—are less, far less than my iniquities have deserved! Oh, boundless grace! The chastening rod of a reconciled Father, might have been the flaming sword of an avenging Judge! I might now have been weeping and wailing with devils and damned spirits in hell! I will bear the indignation of the Lord—because I have sinned against Him. It is of His mercy alone, that I am not consumed!
Oh, it is but a little while—and then there will be an eternal end of all your sorrows, fears, trials and disappointments! That heavenly Bridegroom, who has betrothed you to Himself, will, before long, bring you into His eternal kingdom, where you will forget all the storms and tempests, clouds and darkness—in your passage through this wilderness world—and all shall be eternally filled with joy and peace, love and praise!
No troubles or afflictions shall ever assault you in that glorious place—but you shall dwell eternally under the constant shinings of divine love, and shall sing with the strongest believers, yes with the highest and most glorious archangels in heaven—the wondrous mysteries of redeeming grace! The comforts and blessedness of that state of rest, will be more brightened and endeared—by all your tears and sighings here below. The remembrance of the gall and wormwood of afflictions, will tend to sweeten the taste of heavenly enjoyments.
I pray that God may be with you—to support and comfort you with the divine consolations of His Holy Spirit, and establish you in His own due time. He is a faithful God—and therefore will not lay upon you more than He will enable you to bear. 1Cor 10:13. If you have less of this world—may you have more of His comfortable presence! Oh, blessed exchange! May you be supported with His everlasting arms—and have Him to sustain and uphold you in every time of need!
Remember your once dying, but now exalted Redeemer. Is the servant greater than his Lord? Shall we not joyfully tread in His steps—that we may at last be where He is? Can, or ought we to repine—if God deals with us—as He did with His own well-beloved Son?
May the Lord help you willingly to submit to Him. Doubt not, but that at the appointed time, when He sees it will be for your good and His own glory—that your heavenly Father will bring you out of your afflictions. You should rejoice to think that He is carrying on the great work of your eternal salvation, amidst all your troubles and disappointments, and under all your difficult afflictions. Oh, say then, with Job: “Though He slays me—yet will I trust in Him!” Job 13:15. Though I am surrounded with terrors—I will bless Him that I am out of hell!
Oh that you may be embraced in the arms of everlasting love, and enjoy the comforts of your pardoned state! Let me beg of you, once more, dear sister—not to allow the disappointments and crosses of this world, however sore and trying in themselves—to drive from your mind, the frequent and joyful forethoughts of what free, rich, and sovereign grace has designed for you in the eternal world—and is fitting and preparing you for, every day you live.
Let not the hardships of your journey—make you forget, but rather cause you to long for your eternal home. Oh, think on that heaven—which neither sin, nor death, nor hell—shall ever be able to deprive you of; in which you through sovereign grace, shall spend the endless ages of a blessed eternity!
“Do then, Lord, what You please with me—so that I may but die to this world, overcome my corruptions, live more upon Christ, bring more glory to Your name, and have more comfortable tastes and pledges of Your love. May Your will be done!”