Do not measure God’s love and favour by your own feeling. As God loved you before, so He loves you as well and as dearly still; when He hides His face, as when He bestows His lovingkindness to shine most comfortably upon you. He loved Christ as dearly when He hanged on the tree, in torment of soul and body, as He did when He said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17); yea, and when He received Him up into glory.
The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof. So God loves us as well when He does not shine in the brightness of His countenance upon us as when He does. Job was as much beloved of God in the midst of his miseries as he was afterwards when he came to enjoy the abundance of his mercies (Job 42:7).
Adapted from The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, 2:320.
God respects you as much in a low as in a high condition, and therefore it need not so much trouble you to be made low. Not only so but, to speak home, he manifests more of his love, grace, and tenderness in the time of affliction than prosperity. As God did not at first choose you because you were high, so he will not forsake you because you are low. Men may look shy upon you, and alter their respects as your condition is altered. When providence has blasted your estates, your summer friends may grow strange, as fearing you may be troublesome to them. But will God do so? No, no!
Adapted from The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel, 5:442.
“The nurse lets the child get a knock sometimes, in order to make it more cautious.”
Thus does the Lord in Providence allow his children to suffer by their sins, that they may be more thoughtful in future. He has no hand in their sin; but, since the sin is in them, he allows circumstances to occur by which the evil is made manifest in open acts, which cause them sorrow.
When a physician sees a person suffering from an inward complaint, he may think it wise so to deal with his patient that the disease is brought to the surface; and thus also God may permit the sins of his people to come to an open sore, that they may be aware of them, and seek for healing.
The nurse does not make the child careless or cause it to tumble, but she withdraws her interposing care for the best of reasons, namely, that the little one may learn to avoid danger by a measure of suffering on account of it. It would be blasphemous to attribute sin to God; but it is a matter of fact that, by smarting for one fault, gracious men learn to avoid others.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).
Keep God’s covenant in your trials. Hold you by His blessed word, and sin not. Flee anger, wrath, grudging, envying, fretting. Forgive an hundred pence to your fellow-servant, because your Lord hath forgiven you ten thousand talents. For I assure you by the Lord, your adversaries shall get no advantage against you, except you sin and offend your Lord in your sufferings.
Letters of Samuel Rutherford (Edinburgh: Oliphant, 1891), 57–58.