‘He does not willingly bring affliction’ (Lamentations 3:33)
Our afflictions do not flow from sovereignty, but from our Heavenly Father’s wisdom, holiness, and love. He finds no pleasure in our pains, groans, and sighs. He is never hasty in using the rod: mercy flies to help us, but He is slow to anger and of great kindness.
He never afflicts us without a sufficient cause; either sin has been committed; duties neglected; mercies slighted; lukewarmness discovered; worldly-mindedness tolerated; privileges abused; warnings despised; temptations trifled with; or danger is near.
He never afflicts without a good and gracious intention, to make us fear, loathe, and flee from sin; to show His disapproval of our unholy course; to quicken us in His ways; to make us long for, seek, and partake of His holiness; to produce contrition and godly sorrow; or to prove that His authority is not surrendered because His love is great.
He only afflicts partially, occasionally, and sparingly. He always strikes in love, and aims at our spiritual welfare; and we are often benefited more by afflictions than we are by comforts and joys. O Saviour, sanctify me with every afflicting stroke!
In the floods of tribulation
While the billows o’er me roll,
Jesus whispers consolation,
And supports my fainting soul;
Thus to bring my Saviour near.
THE DAILY REMEMBRANCER by James Smith (1802-1862)
‘My birthday. How many mercies does this day bring to my remembrance? I am now thirty-six years of age. Who can number my sins? Yet I have reason to believe they are all forgiven.
Twelve years ago, this day, I began to preach the gospel, and since then I have preached more than 3,000 sermons. I have passed through many trials, but am now more comfortably settled than ever I was before. I have a church of near 250 members, a congregation of at least 1,200 persons, and enjoy good health to preach to them. I have a family of six children, besides three in heaven. I hope those on earth are designed to glorify my God and Saviour.’