The following is from a message by Thomas Brooks entitled, "London's Lamentations." The message was preached in 1670 . My family has had the unpleasant experience of having God rub hard this week. While we all know he has done it in love and for our good the rubbing has been difficult. My hope and prayer is that as a result we will more clearly reflect the image of the Saviour, especially those two special people who have patiently borne the most intense rubbing!
And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: . . . . . Isaiah 1:25
"By severe providences and by fiery trials, God designs the growth of His people in grace. Usually the graces of the saints thrive best--when they are under a smarting rod. Grace usually is in the greatest flourish--when the saints are under the greatest trials. The trimming of the candle--makes it burn the brighter. God bruises His spices--to make them send forth the sweeter fragrance. Fiery trials are like the brush, which, though it is sharp and scratching--it makes the cloth more pure and clean. God would not rub so hard, were it not to fetch out the dirt and spots which are in His people.
Stars shine brightest in the darkest nights; and so do the graces of the saints shine brightest in the darkest nights of affliction and tribulation. God will sometimes more carry on the growth of grace by a cross than by a mercy. Yes, the Lord will, sooner or later, more or less--turn all fiery trials into blessings for the helping on the growth of grace in His people's souls. Though fiery trials are grievous--yet they shall make us more gracious. Though for the present they appear to harm and damage us; yet in the outcome we shall find that God will turn them into the spiritual and eternal advantage of our precious souls.
Thrice happy will afflicted Christians be, if under all their crosses and losses they grow into a more deep acquaintance with God and His holiness; with the vanity, mutability, impotency, and uncertainty of the world; and with the deceitfulness, vileness, baseness, and wretchedness of their own hearts!
If under fiery dispensations, we grow . . .
more holy than ever,
more humble than ever,
more heavenly than ever,
more meek and lowly than ever,
more tender and compassionate than ever,
more faithful and fruitful than ever,
more patient and contented than ever,
then we may be confident that the grand design of God in bringing all those fiery trials upon us, was for His glory, and our own spiritual and eternal good."