“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10
Trials, sufferings, afflictions, vexations, and disappointments are our appointed lot. And though grievous to the flesh, yet when they are sanctified to the soul’s good—are made to be some of our choicest blessings! Levity, carelessness, and indifference, with a general hardness and deadness in the things of God, soon creep over the mind—unless it be well weighted with trials and afflictions.
But when we are in the furnace, we rarely see what benefit it is producing—or what profit is likely to arise to ourselves or to others out of it. Our coward flesh shrinks from the cross, and until submission and resignation are wrought in us by a divine power, and the peaceable fruits of the Spirit begin to show themselves, we cannot bless the Lord for the trial and affliction. Our trials vary as much as our outward circumstances or inward feelings, and each person perhaps thinks his own trial the heaviest. But no doubt infinite wisdom appoints to each vessel of mercy, those peculiar trials in nature, or degree, which are required to work out God’s hidden purposes.