Established through Suffering
After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace . . . will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
You have seen the arch of heaven as it spans the plain: Glorious are its colors, and rare its hues. It is beautiful, but, sadly, it passes away, and the rainbow is no more. The fair colors give way to the fleecy clouds, and the sky is no longer brilliant with the tints of heaven. It is not established. How can it be? A glorious show made up of transitory sunbeams and passing raindrops-how can it remain?
The graces of the Christian character must not resemble the rainbow in its transitory beauty but, on the contrary, must be established, settled, abiding. Seek, O believer, that every good thing you have may be an abiding thing. May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock! May your faith be no “baseless fabric of a vision,” but may it be built of material able to endure that awful fire that shall consume the wood, hay, and stubble of the hypocrite. May you be rooted and grounded in love. May your convictions be deep, your love real, your desires sincere. May your whole life be so settled and established that all the blasts of hell and all the storms of earth will never be able to remove you.
But notice how this blessing of being established in the faith is gained. The apostle’s words point us to suffering as the means employed—“After you have suffered a little while.” It is of no use to hope that we shall be well rooted if no rough winds pass over us. Those old gnarlings on the root of the oak tree and those strange twistings of the branches all tell of the many storms that have swept over it, and they are also indicators of the depth into which the roots have forced their way. So the Christian is made strong and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life. Do not shrink then from the tempestuous winds of trial, but take comfort, believing that by their rough discipline God is fulfilling this benediction to you.
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