Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: to set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Sharp afflictions are to the soul as a driving rain to the house; we know not that there are such crannies and holes in the house, till we see it drop here and there. Thus we perceive not how unmortified this corruption, nor how weak that grace is, till we are thus searched, and made more fully to know what is in our hearts by such trials.
WILLIAM TIPTAFT (1803-1864): We are all good until we are tried.
WILLIAM GURNALL: This is the reason why none have such humble thoughts of themselves, and such pitiful and forbearing thoughts towards others in their infirmities, as those who are most acquainted with afflictions. They meet with so many foils in their conflicts, as to make them carry a low sail in respect of their own grace, and a tender respect to their brethren—more ready to pity than censure them in their weakness.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): Tribulations and temptations will almost loose us at the root; and yet without tribulations and temptations, we can now no more grow, than herbs and corn without rain.
THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): The husbandman is glad of showers as well as sunshine; rainy weather is troublesome, but sometimes the season requireth it.
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Not a drop of rain falls in vain.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): All trials are sent for two ends: that we may be better acquainted with the Lord Jesus, and with our own wicked hearts.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): What we need is not freedom from conflict, but an abundance of faith. Trials would little try us if we had more confidence in God, and afflictions would have small power to afflict us if we laid up our heart’s joy and confidence in the Lord alone.
BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): Does He not love us, and does He not know what is best for us? Oh, for grace to remember, not only when His dispensations are agreeable to the flesh, but also when they are painful and flesh-crucifying, that the Lord reigneth, that the Lord is our Father, and to praise the Lord.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Take the case of Job…When loss after loss came his way, what did he do? Bemoan his “bad luck”? Curse the robbers? Murmur against God? No; he bowed before Him in worship. Ah, dear reader, there is no real rest for your poor heart until you learn to see the hand of God in everything. But for that, faith must be in constant exercise. And what is faith? A blind credulity? A fatalistic acquiescence? No, far from it. Faith is a resting on the sure Word of the living God, and therefore says, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28; and therefore faith will give thanks “always for all things.” Operative faith will “Rejoice in the Lord always,” Philippians 4:4.
BROWNLOW NORTH: I believe that there is nothing that honours God more, or that God more honours, than praising Him in tribulation; and few men know what a talent He commits to their charge when He gives them bitter water. When did Paul ever honour God more than when at midnight, in the inner prison, his back cut to pieces by the Roman whips, and his feet made fast in the stocks, he prayed, and sang praises unto God? And when did God ever honour Paul more than when, through the instrumentality of those prayers and praise, he brought the jailor to his feet with question, “What shall I do to be saved?”
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): A good man being observed to be as cheerful in adversity as he had been in prosperity, assigned as the reason, “When I had every thing about me, I enjoyed God in all; and now I have nothing, I enjoy all in God.”
DAVID BRAINERD (1718-1747): In this world I expect tribulation; and it does not now, as formerly, appear strange to me. I do not in such seasons of difficulty flatter myself that it will be better hereafter, but rather think, how much worse it might be; how much greater are yet perhaps reserved for me. Blessed be God, that He makes the thoughts of my journey’s end and of my dissolution a great comfort to me, under my sharpest trials, and scarce ever lets these thoughts be attended with terror or melancholy; but they are attended frequently with great joy.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): There is nothing in afflictions which ought to disturb our joy.
C. H. SPURGEON: I am trying, if I can, to find a joy in rheumatism, but I cannot get up to it yet. I have found a joy when it is over―I can reach that length―and I can and do bless God for any good result that may come of it; but when the pain is on me, it is difficult to be joyous about it, and so I conclude that my sanctification is very incomplete.
JOHN HUSS (1376-1415): Truly it is a serious thing to rejoice without perturbation, and to count all joy in manifold trials. It is easy to speak of and to expound this, but to fulfil it is a serious thing. The most enduring and bravest of soldiers, though knowing that on the third day He was to rise, and by death overcome His enemies, yet, after the Last Supper, He was troubled in spirit, and said, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): I trust you will be able to set your seal to that gracious word, that though afflictions in themselves are not joyous, but grievous, yet in due season they yield the peaceful fruits of righteousness, Hebrews 12:11.
C. H. SPURGEON: Our sorrows shall have an end when God has gotten His end in them.
WILLIAM GURNALL: This sorrow is but like a summer shower, melted by the sense of God’s love, as that by the warm sun, and leaves the soul—as that doth a garden of sweet flowers—on which it falls, more fresh and odoriferous…The troubles of the saints will not last always, but, when they have done their work, they shall have a happy period. They shall have a harvest of joy.
C. H. SPURGEON: This joyful harvest may be expected. It must not be expected in our wintry world, for there is not sun enough to ripen it. Heaven is the Christian’s summer. When you come to reap the fruits of your present trials, you will bless God who made you sow in tears…Let the hope and prospect of this joyful harvest support us under all the glooms and distresses of this vale of tears.
THOMAS MANTON: A Christian is a bird that can sing in winter as well as in spring.
WILLIAM GURNALL: Though your life be evil with troubles, yet it is short―a few short steps and we are out of the rain.
JOHN TRAPP: He that rides to be crowned will not think much of a rainy day.