Suffering and Sin: not always go hand-in-hand

This is part two of the Three Day Quote Challenge I’m participating in. Part one can be found HERE and the first post explaining it all HERE.

The other day I was doing some devotional reading on the ninth chapter of the Gospel of John. The devotional was speaking about Jesus’ teaching on the man who was blinded from birth, verses 1-3:

“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭1-3‬ ESV)

The devotion also included several quotes from various theologians and preachers, some you may be familiar with:

“Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins–but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces. Christ, who perfectly knew the secret springs of the divine counsels, told them two things concerning such calamities: that they are not always inflicted as punishments of sin–and that they are sometimes intended purely for the glory of God, and the manifesting of His works.” Matthew Henry

“Afflictions are often the black foils in which God sets the jewels of His children’s graces, to make them shine the better. There are some of your graces which would never be discovered, if it were not for your trials. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which you are passing? Is not the Lord bringing out your graces, and making them grow? Real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials. The heart of a Christian is Christ’s garden, and his graces are as so many sweet spices and flowers, when His Spirit blows upon them, to send forth a sweet savor.” Charles Spurgeon

“Stars shine brightest in the darkest night. Afflictions ripen the saints’ graces. Gold looks the brighter for scouring. Just so, afflictions are but our Father’s goldsmiths who are working to add pearls to our crowns. Spices smell sweetest when pounded–and juniper smells sweeter in the fire.” Thomas Brooks 

“Some graces grow best in winter. Grace withers without adversity.” Samuel Rutherford

“The lowly graces of the Spirit thrive best under crosses.” Daniel Rowland

“The Lord’s jewels need grinding, and cutting, and polishing.” R.C. Chapman

And, finally, one I can particularly relate to:

“Grievous afflictions are not always sent as a scourge for sins committed–but sometimes as preventatives from sins. Paul’s thorn prevented his pride.” John Leland

I, too, once placed far too much emphasis – pride – on what I had accomplished in my recovery. If you’ve read some of my story on my About and Maybe I Should’ve Started Here pages you know I’ve been through a couple of surgeries and God has healed me to the point I can walk again; I still need braces and a cane and have chronic pain but I’m not in a wheelchair. Some will say “If God is capable of anything and He healed you, why did He only do it ‘halfway’?”. The answer is simple: For my own good. I know that it wasn’t “me” that did anything, it was all Him but I need to be reminded of that, humbled, in order to make sure I give the praise, credit and glory to Him who it belongs to: God. And I’ll gladly live with my “thorn in the flesh” to be the man He has made me today rather than be 100% physically healed and have to go back to the “old man” I was. 

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6 comments

  1. I appreciate your words/perspective very much. I spent much of my life complaining–nothing was as I thought it should be, I felt victimized at every turn. I was a Christian, but I sure wasn’t enjoying anything like an abundant life. But at age 59, when the Lord turned things upside down so I could see things clearly, I was never so grateful and joyful for the whole lot of it. I wouldn’t have the intimate relationship with HIM that I enjoy, regardless of circumstances, if I’d had some fairy tale life I thought I surely deserved. If we don’t NEED to depend on HIM, trust Him–humans go along merrily thinking we’ve got it all together; and then we miss out on the real Gold, the True Abundant Life He’s promised us–even in far less than perfect circumstances. People who think they don’t need God, that they’ve got life handled, are so deceived–and they’re in for a bad fall, eventually. I’ll take my “little”–with the BIG LORD–any day; over a LOT with the World, and no Jesus. God bless you and your family BIG today!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When our firstborn arrived missing toes and most of his fingers, our pastor read this same passage from John to us. God’s grace has been very evident in our son’s life thus far and “polished” us as well. Life is not perfect this side of heaven but it is still wonder-full!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! It’s an amazing this, I think, how much The Word comforts and teaches as the Spirit prompts. And then we have the privilege of praising God for those things; it makes me happy just thinking about it!

      Liked by 1 person

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