I took a break from reading Spurgeon during my devotions for awhile, but I recently picked up my volume of Morning and Evening and have resumed my perusal of his writings. He was a man tempered by suffering, resulting, I believe, in a depth of insight and understanding of the Word that is amazing. To say nothing of "fitting him for heaven," this Prince of Preachers. In the midst of my own personal sufferings, this passage is one of those that has ministered to me.
"Does Job fear God for nothing?"
This was the wicked question of Satan concerning that upright man of old, but there are many in the present day concerning whom it might be asked with justice, for they love God after a fashion because He prospers them; but if things went ill with them, they would give up all their boasted faith in God. If they can clearly see that since the time of their supposed conversion the world has gone prosperously with them, then they will love God in their poor carnal way; but if they endure adversity, they rebel against the Lord. Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house.
As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant was prosperity, but the promise of the new covenant is adversity. (!) Remember Christ's words: "Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit" -- What? He prunes it,that it may bring forth more fruit. If you bring forth fruit, you will have to endure affliction. "Alas!" you say, "that is a terrible prospect." But this affliction works out such precious results, that the Christian who is the subject of it must learn to rejoice in tribulations, because as his tribulations abound, so his consolations abound by Christ Jesus.
Rest assured, if you are a child of God, you will be no stranger to the rod. Sooner or later every bar of gold must pass through the fire. Fear not, but rather rejoice that such fruitful times are in store for you, for in them you will be weaned from the earth and made fit for heaven; you will be delivered from clinging to the present, and made to long for those eternal things which are so soon to be revealed to you. When you feel that as regards the present you serve God for nothing, you will then rejoice in the infinite reward of the future.
Charles H. Spurgeon
Nearly 6 years ago, on the day my mom died, a group of women prayed over me, prophesied over me, and spoke words of promise from the Lord. Among them was a word that there was much seed that would come from me -- not seed as in babies -- and that there would be much fruit in my life. After reading the above passage from Spurgeon, I am getting a glimpse of what that might mean. Much fruit, much affliction. Hmmm. Perhaps my current affliction is part of that promise.
And would that these afflictions result in the kind of depth manifested in the Prince of Preachers.