It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. -Psalm 119:71
A friend of mine had shared a story with me one day of his life experiences, which is worthy to take note of concerning a real genuine love that should be taught and applied to each and every one of us.
The story goes as follows:
My friend used to work with a local farmer as a teenager, and the farmer with which he worked, happened to be very short and, at times, his directives seemed to be somewhat afflicting. The farmer seemed to him at times to be harsh in giving directives. My friend did not quite understand why this farmer would carry himself in such a way. It’s not that this farmer was unloving, unfair or even cruel. It was just foreign to see and experience, especially in contrast to what he had seen and experienced with others in the past.
Well, one day, he had the opportunity to talk with the farmer’s wife in hopes of getting some understanding when it came to her husband. He asked why he was so short, and at times harsh. She replied that when he was in the Vietnam War that he lost a lot of men in the war and believed that if he were harder on his men that he would have brought more home with him.
My friend learned of real love that day, though it seemed harsh to him at first. It was a love that looked out for him, instructed him (2 Timothy 3:16), sought to protect him, and, in the end, to preserve his life in longevity. How little of this is demonstrated today (1 John 3:18).
Oh, how few understand this love. It is the heart of God (Romans 5:5) and His love for His children (Hebrews 12:5-11).
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” -John 13:35
When you take what men call love today, which in truth “waxing cold” and “works iniquity” (Matthew 24:12), and put in up to what love really is concerning the patriarchs and forefathers of the past, what a difference there is. It is the difference between light and darkness.
Let’s take a look.
Blessed is the man who about chastenest – Thomas Brooks, 1800
If by outward affliction thy soul be brought more under the inward teachings of God, doubtless thy afflictions are in love.
All the chastening in the world, without divine teaching, will never make a man blessed; the man that finds correction attended with instruction, and lashing with lessoning, is a happy man.
If God, by the affliction that is upon thee, shall teach thee how to loathe sin more, and how to walk with God more, thy afflictions are in love.
If God shall teach thee by afflictions how to die to sin more, and how to die to thy self–interest thy afflictions are in love. If God shall teach thee by afflictions how to live to Christ more, how to lift up Christ more, how to long for Christ more, thy afflictions are in love.
If God shall teach thee by afflictions to get assurance of a better life, and to be still in a gracious readiness and preparedness for the day of death, thy afflictions are in love.
If God shall teach thee by afflictions how to mind Heaven more, how to be fit for Heaven more, thy afflictions are in love.
If God by afflictions shall teach thy proud heart how to lie more low, and thy hard heart how to grow more humble, and thy censorious heart how to grow more charitable, and thy carnal heart how to grow more spiritual, and thy forward heart how to grow more quite, thy afflictions are in love.
Pambo an illiterate dunce as the historian turns him, was learning that one lesson, “I said I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue,” nineteen years, yet had not learned it. Ah! IT is to be feared that there are many who have been in this school of affliction above this nineteen years, and yet have not learned any saving lesson all this while. Surely their afflictions are not in love, but in wrath.
Where God loves, He afflicts in love, and wherever God afflicts in love, there He will first and last teach such souls such lessons, as shall do them good to all eternity. If you enjoy the special presence of God with your spirits in affliction, then your affliction is in love.
Hast thou a special presence of God with thy spirit, strengthening of that, stilling of that, satisfying of that, cheering and comforting of that? “In the multitude of my thoughts,” –that is, of my troubled, intricate, ensnared, intertwined, and perplexed thoughts, as the branches of a tree by some strong wind are twisted one within another as the Hebrew word properly signifies, – “Thy comforts delight my soul.” Here is a presence of God with his soul, here are comforts and delights that reach the soul, here is a cordial to strengthen the spirits.
Can you imagine what the world would be like today if only we all would take the time to receive, and to understand the love of God towards us and for one another? Me too. Amen!
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