Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
~ Psalm 119:92
When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
~ Psalm 94:18-19
When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
~ Proverbs 6:22-23
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
~ Psalm 34:19
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
The Afflictions of the Godly, by Thomas Watson. The following contains various excerpts from his writings.
God’s people have no charter of exemption from trouble in this life. While the wicked are kept in sugar — the godly are often kept in brine.
A sick bed often teaches more than a sermon.
We can best see the ugly visage of sin, in the looking-glass of affliction.
What if we have more of the rough file — if we have less rust. Afflictions carry away nothing but the dross of sin.
Time is short (1 Corinthians 7:29). If our lives are short — then our trials cannot be long.
Afflictions quicken our pace in the way to Heaven.
Though the cross is heavy — we have but a little way to carry it.
Affliction is the touch-stone of sincerity. “You, O God, have proved us; You have tried us as silver is tried . . . You laid affliction upon us” (Psalm 66:10, 11). Hypocrites may embrace religion in prosperity — but he is a true Christian who will keep close to God in a time of suffering. “All this is come upon us — yet have we not forgotten You.” (Psalm 44:17).
The stones which are cut out for a building are first hewn and squared. The godly are called “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5). God first hews and polishes them by affliction — that they may be fit for the heavenly building. The house of bondage prepares for the house not made with hands.
Afflictions on the godly make them better — but afflictions on the wicked make them worse. The godly pray more (Psalm 130:1). The wicked blaspheme more, “Men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God” (Rev. 16:9).
Affliction of the godly is like bruising spices, which are most sweet and fragrant.
Affliction of the wicked is like pounding weeds, which makes them more unsavory.
When affliction or death comes to a wicked man, it takes away his soul. When it comes to a godly man, it only takes away his sin, “We are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:32).
Affliction works out sin — and works in grace.
It is one heart-quieting consideration, in all the afflictions that befall us, that God has a special hand in them: “The Almighty has afflicted me.” (Ruth 1:21).
Instruments can no more stir until God gives them a commission — than the axe can cut of itself without a hand.
Job eyed God in his affliction — he does not say, “The Lord gave — and the devil took away;” but “The Lord gave — and the Lord has taken away.” Whoever brings an affliction to us, it is God who sends it.
Afflictions work for good. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Psalm 119:71). Joseph’s brethren throw him into a pit; afterwards they sell him; then he is cast into prison — yet all this worked for his good. “You thought evil against me — but God meant it unto good.”
King Manasseh was bound in chains; this was sad to see — a crown of gold, exchanged for fetters. But it wrought for his good, for, “So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the LORD his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the LORD listened to him and was moved by his request. So the LORD brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the LORD alone is God.” (2 Chr. 33:11-13)
Manasseh was more indebted to his iron chain, than to his golden crown.
The one made him proud — the other made him humble.
God sweetens outward pain, with inward peace. “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John 16:20). God’s afflicting rod has honey at the end of it.
David says, “My times are in Your hand” (Psalm 31:15).
If our times were in our own hand — we would have deliverance too soon.
If they were in our enemy’s hand — we would have deliverance too late. But my times are in God’s hand — and God’s time is ever best. Deliverance may tarry beyond our time; but it will not tarry beyond God’s time.
Afflictions work for good, as they conform us to Christ. His life was a series of sufferings, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He wept, and bled.
Was His head crowned with thorns — and do we think to be crowned with roses?
It is good to be like Christ — though it be by sufferings.
God loves a thankful Christian. Job thanked God when He took all away: “The Lord has taken away — blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Many will thank God when He gives, Job thanks Him when He takes away, because he knew God would work good out of it.
Every bird can sing in spring — but some birds will sing in the dead of winter.
A Christian will bless God, not only in the spring — but in the winter of affliction.
“His mercies are new every morning” (Lam. 3:23). Mercy comes in as constantly as the tide; nay, how many tides of mercy do we see in one day.
We never eat — but mercy carves every bit to us;
we never drink — but in the golden cup of mercy;
we never go abroad — but mercy guards our steps;
we never lie down in bed — but mercy draws the curtains of protection close around us.
Shall we receive so many good things at the hand of God — and shall we not receive evil? (Job 2:10)
Our mercies far outweigh our afflictions.
For one affliction — we have a thousand mercies.
The sea of God’s mercy swallows up a few drops of affliction.
Affliction quickens the spirit of prayer. Jonah was asleep in the ship — but at prayer in the whale’s belly. Perhaps in a time of health and prosperity we pray in a cold and formal manner, we put no coals to the incense; we scarcely minded our own prayers, and how should God mind them?
Then God sends some cross or other affliction to make us take hold of Him. “They poured out a prayer, when Your chastening hand was upon them.” (Isaiah 26:15); now their prayer pierced the heavens. In times of trouble, we pray earnestly and fervently.
When God puts His children to the school of the cross, He deals with them tenderly.
He will not lay a giant’s burden upon a child’s back.
Nor will He stretch the strings of the instrument too much, lest they should break.
If God sees it good to strike with one hand — He will support with the other.
Either He will make our faith stronger — or render the yoke lighter.
God loves His people, when He is giving the bitter drink of affliction. God’s rod and God’s love — they both stand together.
Let us feel God’s hand — so that we may have His heart.
Afflictions add to the saints’ glory.
The more the diamond is cut — the more it sparkles.
The heavier the saints’ cross is — the heavier shall be their crown.