“It was good for me to be afflicted–so that I might learn your decrees.” Psalm 119:71
As it is the duty of God’s children to prepare for affliction before it comes; so it is also their duty to improve affliction when it does come.
If we do not prepare for affliction–we shall be surprised by it;
and, if we do not improve it–we are likely to increase it.
He who would prepare for affliction, must beforehand:
(1.) resign all to God,
(2.) strengthen his graces,
(3.) store up divine promises,
(4.) and search out secret sins.
And he who would improve affliction when it does come, must labor to see:
sin more and more in its filthiness–so as to mortify it;
his heart in its deceitfulness–so as to watch over it;
the world in its emptiness–so as to be crucified to it;
grace in its amiableness–so as to prize it;
God in His holiness–so as to revere Him; and
heaven in its desirableness–so as to long after it.
He who takes more care to avoid afflictions–than to be fitted for them; or is more solicitous to be delivered from them–than to be bettered by them; is likely to come soonest into them–and to live longest under them!
“God disciplines us for our good–that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:10-11
~ Thomas Sherman, “Aids to the Divine Life–A Series of Practical Christian Contemplations” 1680