Sickness, trials and disappointments! (J.C. Ryle)
Sickness helps to remind men of death. Most live as if they were never going to die. They follow business, or pleasure, or politics, or science — as if earth was their eternal home. They plan and scheme for the future, like the rich fool in the parable — as if they had a long lease of life. A heavy illness sometimes goes far to dispel these delusions. It awakens men from their day-dreams, and reminds them that they have to die, as well as to live. Now this I say emphatically is a mighty good.
We live in such a lovely and pleasant world — we are so surrounded with so much that is smiling and mirthful — that if we were not often obliged to taste of sickness, trials and disappointments — we would forget our heavenly home, and pitch our tents right in this Sodom!
Therefore it is that God’s people pass through great tribulations. Therefore it is they are often called upon to suffer the sting of affliction and anxiety — or weep over the grave of those whom they have loved as their own soul.
It is their Father’s hand that chastens them!
It is thus He weans their affections from things below — and fixes them on Himself!
It is thus He trains them for eternity, and cuts the threads one by one which bind their wavering hearts to this poor earth.
No doubt such chastening is grievous for the time — but still it brings many a hidden grace to light; and cuts down many a secret seed of sin.
The purest gold is that which has been longest in the refiner’s furnace.
The brightest diamond is often that which has required the most grinding and polishing.
We shall see those who have suffered most — shining among the brightest stars in the assembly of Heaven.
The last night of weeping will soon be spent, the last wave of trouble will soon have rolled over us — and then we shall be at home forever with the Lord!
“Our light affliction endures but for a moment, and it works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!” 2 Corinthians 4:17