Trial and Tribulation: God’s Way of Refining His People — J.C. Ryle (Quote of the Day)
Mark well, beloved, this truth—the path to glory has been always filled with thorns; it is the experience of all those holy men who have left us an example that we should walk in their steps: Abraham, and Jacob, and Moses, and David, and Job, and Daniel, there was not one of them who was not perfected through sufferings.
We are all too much disposed to think a time may come when we shall have a season of repose and not be harassed with these vexations and disappointments. Almost everyone supposes he is tried more than his neighbors—but let us not be deceived—this earth is not our rest; it is a place for working, not for sleeping. Here is the reason that so many run well for a time, and seem to have the love of Christ in their hearts, and yet, when persecution or affliction arises for the word’s sake, they fall away. They had not counted the cost; they had reckoned on the reward without the labor; they had forgotten this most important point in the character of God’s saints, “they are men who have come out of great tribulation.”
This seems a hard saying—but I would have you know these heavy trials are laid on us for the most wise and merciful purposes. We live in such a fair and pleasant world, we are so surrounded with so much that is smiling and mirthful, that if we were not often obliged to taste of sickness and trial or disappointments, we would forget our heavenly home, and pitch our tents in this Sodom. This is why God’s people pass through great tribulations. This is why they are often called upon to suffer the sting of affliction and anxiety—or weep over the grave of those whom they have loved as their own soul. It is their Father’s hand which chastens them! It is thus He weans their affections from things below—and fixes them on Himself! It is thus He trains them for eternity, and cuts the threads one by one which bind their wavering hearts to earth.
No doubt such chastening is grievous for the time—but still it brings many a hidden grace to light, and cuts down many a secret seed of evil. We shall see those who have suffered most shining among the brightest stars in the assembly of heaven. The purest gold is that which has been longest in the refiner’s furnace. The brightest diamond is often that which has required the most grinding and polishing. “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory!”
The saints are men who have come out of great tribulation, they are never left to perish in it; the last night of weeping will soon be spent, the last wave of trouble will have rolled over us, and then we shall have a peace which passes all understanding; we shall be at home forever with the Lord.
taken from: The Blood of the Lamb, J.C. Ryle