25 February 2011

The blessing of trials

The following quote is from "A Joy in All Trials," a Sermon (No. 1704) Delivered on the Lord's Day Morning, February 4th, 1883, by C.H. Spurgeon, at the Metropolitan Tavernacle, Newington , England - and excerpted by Nancy Guthrie in Be Still, My Soul pages 103-104

There is an invaluable blessing which is gained by the trial of our faith.  The blessing gained is this, that our faith is tried and proved.  The way of trying whether you are a good soldier is to go down to the battle.  The way to try whether a ship is well built is, not merely to order the surveyor to examine her, but to send her to sea: a storm will be the best test of her staunchness.

Sanctified tribulations work the proof of our faith, and this is more precious than that of gold which perisheth, though it be tried by fire.  Now when we are able to bear it without starting aside, the trial proves our sincerity.  Coming out of a trouble the Christian says to himself, "Yes, I held fast mine integrity, and did not let it go.  Blessed be God, I was not afraid of threatening; I was not crushed by losses; I was kept true to God under pressure.  Now, I am sure that my religion is not a mere profession, but a real consecration to God.  It has endured the fire, being kept by the power of God."

Which is not to say that we sail through trials serenely and without flinching.  We respond to them in human ways - grief, fear, flight, worry, concern, compassion, confusion...  We respond in ways that portray (or betray) our personality and our heart.  We respond in ways unknown to us because our normal selves have been taken over by adrenalin.  But at the core we hope to find that our abiding trust lies in God who is sovereign over all things.  That at the core our hope, confidence and security is found in Jesus Christ and nothing else.  And if that is what we find then we are deeply blessed, no matter what.


Stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing this Meredith. It's a great quote. I think that in quietly persevering in trials we come to a deeper understanding both of God's sovereignty and faithfulness and our own weak inability to have answers to the complexities of life. In times of heartbreak, as we lean deeper into the sweet love of Jesus, we see ourselves as we truly are - creatures utterly dependant on the kindness of our Saviour.

Praying for you dear friend.

Meredith said...

Thanks dear Steph.
It's God's good gift to us that such sweetness is to be found in the midst of difficult times. His deep comfort - which we sometimes miss if we're too busy reacting in the moment. But you and I have talked about this before - a precious discussion.
I might try and look this whole sermon up. In fact, I might need to do some Spurgeon research because I particularly liked his contribution in "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" as well.