Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. (Revelation 3: 19)
God selects the best and most notable of His servants for the best and most notable afflictions, for those who have received the most grace from Him are able to endure the most afflictions. In fact, an affliction hits a believer never by chance but by God’s divine direction. He does not haphazardly aim His arrows, for each one is on a special mission and touches only the heart for whom it is intended. It is not only the grace of God but also His glory that is revealed when a believer can stand and quietly endure an affliction.
If all my days were sunny, could I say,
“In His fair land He wipes all tears away”?
If I were never weary, could I keep
This blessed truth, “He gives His loved ones sleep”?
If no grave were mine, I might come to deem
The Life Eternal but a baseless dream.
My winter, and my tears, and weariness,
Even my grave, may be His way to bless.
I call them ills; yet that can surely be
Nothing but love that shows my Lord to me!
Christians with the most spiritual depth are generally those who have been taken through the most intense and deeply anguishing fires of the soul. If you have been praying to know more of Christ, do not be surprised if He leads you through the desert or through a furnace of pain.
Dear Lord, do not punish me by removing my cross from me. Instead, comfort me by leading me into submission to Your will and by causing me to love the cross. Give me only what will serve You best, and may it be used to reveal the greatest of all Your mercies: bringing glory to Your name through me, according to Your will.
~a captive’s prayer
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 418). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.