Tuesday, November 03, 2009
In the Cellar of Affliction
"When I am in the cellar of afflction, I look for the Lord's choicest wines." (Samuel Rutherford)
"We often learn more of God under the rod that strikes us, than under the staff that comforts us." (Stephen Charnock)
"It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit, because there is no winter there." (John Bunyan)
Here's a question: When you find yourself amidst the pain of affliction, what is your first response? a) Cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Please take the pain away right now!" or b) Exult in God's fatherly care and kindness and begin to prayerfully consider what He is trying to teach you.
If we are honest, most of us would have to answer "option a", but "option b" is certainly more consonant with the "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives" of Hebrews 12:6.
Although our flesh tries to argue otherwise, the pain of affliction is not evidence of God's abandoning us. It is in fact just the opposite. It demonstrates that our heavenly Father is here and actively loving us as His children. And, were God to answer our pleas to take the pain away, the lesson intended to produce Christ-likeness would vanish with the pain.
If nothing else, the pain of affliction ought to direct our attentions and affections heavenward. As Thomas Watson put it, "When God lays men on their backs, then they look up to heaven."
Lord, make it so for all who love You. And start with me.