"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your Word." Psalm 119:67
"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes." Psalm 119:71
By affliction, the Master Artist is adding some new touch of loveliness to the picture He is bringing out in our souls.
Afflictions, when sanctified, always temper worldly ambitions, burn out the dross of selfishness, humble pride, quell fierce passions, reveal the evil in our hearts, manifest our weaknesses, faults, and blemishes, teach patience and submission, discipline unruly spirits, deepen and enrich our graces.
Afflictions, when sanctified, plough the hard soil and cut long and deep furrows in the heart. The heavenly Sower follows, and fruits of righteousness spring up. "No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
Affliction is a messenger of God, sent to minister to us in the best of ways! When under God's chastening hand, we should ask:
What would God have this sorrow do for me?
What is its mission?
What its great design?
What golden fruit lies hidden in its husk?
How shall it strengthen my virtue, nerve my courage, chasten my passions, purify my love, and make me like Him who bore the cross of sorrow while He lived, and hung and bled upon it when He died, and now wears the victor's crown in glory?
- J. R. Miller