"For whom the Lord loves --He chastens." Hebrews 12:6
What? God loves me when He is discharging His quiver upon me, when He is emptying me from vessel to vessel--when He is causing the sun of my earthly joys to set in clouds? Yes! O afflicted, tempest-tossed one, He chastens you because He loves you! This trial comes from His own tender, loving hand--from His own tender, unchanging heart!
Are you laid on a sickbed with sorrowful months and wearisome nights appointed unto you? Let this be the pillow on which your aching head reclines: It is because He loves me!
Is it bereavement which has swept your heart and desolated your dwelling? He appointed that chamber of death because He loves you! As it is the suffering child of the family which claims a mother's deepest affections and most tender solicitude, so have you at this moment embarked on your side, the most tender love and solicitude of your heavenly Father. He loved you into this sorrow and will love you through it. There is nothing capricious in His dealings. LOVE is the reason for all that He does. There is not one drop of wrath in that bitter cup you are called to drink!
Says one, "He has purchased these afflictions for us, as well as everything else. Blessed be His name, it is part of His covenant to visit us with the rod ." What does our adorable Lord Himself say? The words were spoken, not when He was on earth, a sojourner in a sorrowing world, but when enthroned amid the glories of Heaven. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." Believer! rejoice in the thought that the rod , the chastening rod, is in the hands of the living, loving Savior who died for you!
Tribulation is the King's Highway --and yet that highway is paved with love . As some flowers require crushing before shedding their fragrance, so does your God think it suitable to bruise you. As some birds are said to sing their sweetest notes when the thorn pierces their bosom, so does He appoint affliction to lacerate, that you may be driven to the wing, singing in your upward soaring, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed!"
Be it ours to say, "Lord, I will love You not only despite Your rod, but because of Your rod! I will rush into the very arms that are chastening me!"
- John MacDuff