Today, I read the following encouraging portion from a small tract entitled "Precious Things" by M. Luther Hux. It brought so much comfort and encouragement to me to remember afresh that the trials of our faith is sent by our Lord out of His love and for our good that our faith may be strengthened. As I consider the many fiery trials I have experienced ever since I became a Christian, I am enabled once again to see things from another perspective. Thank God for those trials that purged me of my dross, thrown me upon our Lord and enable me to know His love and faithfulness experientially!
The following is taken from "Precious Trial" of "Precious Things":
'The "precious faith" which we considered first must now be tried. Because they are many counterfeits of the genuine faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, our faith must go through the fires of testing that we may know whether it is true or false, and that also in the fiery trial it may be freed from the impurities by reason of the corruption of the flesh and strengthened.
The Scripture calls this trial of the believers faith "precious".
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto the praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I peter 1:7).From this verse observe what the apostle intends we should know about the many and painful trials which a Christian is to face all during his earthly pilgrimage -
It is a trial. It is a trial which every believer must face. It is a trial of the believer's faith. It is a precious trial. It is a trial of more value than perishing gold. It is a fiery trial. It is a trial which will last until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a trial of your faith whose outcome will be glorious - providing you are found to be a true believer in Him and not merely a dead professor.
It is a wonderful consolation to know that while passing through the manifold trials of this life that they are appointed of Him out of love and for a good end. They are a help and not a hindrance. They cut off pride and bring us to His feet and keep us there. They sweeten the promises and enliven the prayer. They have a tendency to lift our affections from the temporal to the eternal and make us sensitive of the sanctifying power of Christ in every cross we are called to bear. If we possess the faith which is from above we shall say with William Cowper:
Did I meet no trials here-
No chastisement by the way-
Might I not with reason fear
I should prove a castaway?
Bastards may escape the rod,
Sunk in earthly, vain delight;
But the true-born child of God
Must not-would not, if he might.
That faith, if it be a true saving faith, if it is a heavenly and not just a temporary, a stony ground faith, that is the faith that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4), and that faith is going to stand whatever fiery trial that the Lord has appointed, or Satan or the world may bring upon you. And when you come through that, you are going to be a better Christian. That trial, dear friend, while certainly not pleasant to the flesh, will prove more valuable to you than the gold of the world that must pass away. What can be more valuable than to have the blessed assurance that God is your heavenly Father, Christ is your Lord, the Holy Spirit is your Comforter, and heaven is your home? The reproach of Christ was reckoned by Moses to be greater riches than all the treasure of Egypt. Why? Because he had true faith. His faith stood the test when it was tried as all true faith will.
May the Lord grant us grace that we may welcome the precious trial when it comes realizing that it will reveal to us whether or not we have the faith that endures all things for His sake to the end - the faith which will not be ashamed to praise Him before a menacing world, that faith which will be found to the honour and glory of Him when He appears the second time.'
CH Spurgeon also preached a very encouraging sermon on the usefulness of Trials and Afflictions entitled "Sweet Uses of Adversity". This is one of my favourite sermons too :-)