Friday, November 18, 2011

Blessed by Affliction


Affliction is one of God’s medicines. By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way. By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would otherwise have perished everlastingly. Health is a great blessing, but sanctified disease is a greater. Prosperity and worldly comfort, are what all naturally desire; but losses and crosses are far better for us, if they lead us to Christ. Thousands at the last day will testify with David, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” (Psalm. 119:71).
- J.C. Ryle from his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John, Volume 1 (H/T: J.C. Ryle Quotes)

5 comments:

Wandering Pilgrim said...

Thanks for posting this quote Matt, my girlfriend's grandfather is nearing the end of his earthly life and it is hitting her and her family quite badly.

Plus I work with the elderly and sick and I'm sure that this quote will go a long way to help them all understand where affliction fits in with God's plan for us.

A real gem of a quote, that encourages strength and faith in the dark night of the soul.

Matt said...

Hey Wandering Pilgrim, good to hear from you. It looks like your blog has really taken off and I've enjoyed it when I've had time to read it.

I think when affliction hits us it's very hard to be thankful for it but by God's grace I think we can at least hope to trust Him with it. Usually for me it's been in looking back at some very difficult times that I've really seen how God used those times to bring repentance and remind me of my complete dependence on Him so they have been blessings. I think the thing I like about this quote is the reminder that afflictions can often be good as David wrote in the Psalms. This is the exact opposite of what prosperity theology teaches where affliction is never seen as part of God's plan and is usually attributed to a lack of faith or not saying the right kind of prayers or something like that. The Bible obviously teaches otherwise though and as you said that should be a comfort in the midst of affliction.

Wandering Pilgrim said...

Thank you very much Matt for you kind words and indeed for all your support!

Yes I fully believe that suffering is part of the Christian life. Certainly it is not my favourite part however I agree 100% with Calvin when he said “You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy” but I admit that doesn’t fit in with much of Christendom today.

I should point out that I mean suffering as recognition and a shame of one’s sins, before you think I’m wearing a hair-shirt and a cilice.

As for other forms of affliction, I agree with you 100%, I feel God tests us with trials to remind us that we need Him and that without Him we are helpless.
Sadly the prosperity gospel is taking root over here, but well we can hope and pray that true Christianity can stamp it out.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

What a great post! Thanks Matt.
My son Denton and I are trying to put an article together for our monthly church publication. I might steal this quote and put it in. He is going to be in for treatment and I will be there for Thanksgiving Day with him. We hope to work together if he is up to it on some kind of theme like this.
God bless you young man. Hope to visit some day.
Pastor Ron

Matt said...

Pastor Ron,
I will look forward to reading the article. I'm praying for Denton and your family. I think it's wonderful that we can trust God with our afflictions and even receive them as blessings but I also know that God often brings healing of many kinds to His children. I pray that Denton would have complete physical healing and I pray that God would give him the grace to rejoice in Christ and the awesome work He has done on our behalf in the midst of the present sufferings.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:31-32

God bless you and your family!