All things work together for good!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

“In a word, whatever affliction we bear shall be for our soul’s gain. God’s rod and love go together. This is a sweet and blessed lesson indeed; it quietens the heart and supports the soul under its burdens (2 Cor. 4:16). What we lose in our bodies we gain in our souls. What we lose in our estates we receive back in grace. Thus we can bear up and comfort ourselves in our deepest sorrows. When God takes away creature comforts, by secret impressions of love upon the heart he strengthens the soul. We become ‘more than conquerors through him who loved us’ (Rom. 8:37). God teaches us in affliction that one thing is necessary. Affliction reveals how mistaken we are about our ‘must-bes’ and necessities. In our health and liberty we think this thing must be done. When think riches and honours are necessary and we must have our estates and lay up large portions for our children. But in the day of adversity, when death looks us in the face and God causes the horror of the grave, the dread of the last judgment, and the terrors of eternity to pass before us, then we put our mouths in the dust and sigh; ‘O how I have been mistaken! I have fed upon ashes, and my deceived heart has turned me aside.’ We can now see how the pardon of sin, an interest in Christ, a sense of God’s love, and the assurance of glory, are the only indispensables. Christ alone is the one thing necessary, and all others are but ‘maybes’ at best. All the world has is but loss and dung in comparison with the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. Without him the soul is undone to all eternity. They that do not learn this lesson in the school of the Word shall learn it in the school of affliction, if they belong to God.”

— Thomas Case
A puritan devotional reading From Voices from the Past
recently published by The Banner of Truth Trust

God’s Mower & His Furnace

From Theodore Cuyler, “God’s Light on Dark Clouds”
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“I have refined you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10

Some afflictions are sent by God–to purify character. God sits as a Refiner beside His furnace. He heats it until the metal melts–and the dross surfaces and is taken away. He keeps His silver in the furnace–until He can see His own face reflected in the clear metal of the heart. Then the affliction has done its work. There is such a wretched amount of self-will and pride and covetousness and unbelief even in the best of Christians–that they require the refining-furnace very often.

It is a wholesome process — to be “mowed down” occasionally. The grass in every lawn requires to be cut down by a mower. The oftener it is mowed–the richer and the thicker is the growth. The lawn never looks so beautiful, as after the sharp-edged mower has gone over it. I have observed that some Christians have never appeared so attractive in their humility and heavenly-mindedness, as when God’s mowing-machine has been passed over them!

May we be shaped by our God — for His pleasure and glory!
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