Tribulations’ School

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Active member
Nov 21, 2018
For believers, everything encountered, even all that is self-originating is used for their good (Ro 8:28); which is for the purpose of being continually “conformed into the image of His Son” (v 9), via growing in their faith. Thusly is all that transpires in the lives of the saints which is sovereignly controlled, and each day can be welcomed thereby!

For our spiritual growth we must remember to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,” and “Cast all your care upon Him” (Heb 12:1; 1Pe 5:7). Learning to do these two commands manifests the exercising of our faith towards always entrusting God with everything—especially concerning the “hardness,” which results in making us a “partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2Ti 2:3; 2Ti 1:8).

Tribulations’ School

“Tribulation worketh patience” (Ro 5:3). The father’s school of tribulations is very distasteful to the natural heart. But His same wondrous love and grace, which has secured for us above an inalienably (defined; incapable of being alienated—NC) safe portion, blessings ordained from eternity and secured for eternity, have also to carry on a work within us. It is to be here below, in the school of tribulations, to enable us during our journey through this barren wilderness, to realize those blessings and to put away everything around or within us that would hinder or prevent our enjoyment of them (1Ti 6:17), and our corresponding faithful witness and godly walk.

Many might be inclined to think, “Perfect peace with God with regard to the past, and unchanging divine favor as to the present, and a secure hope of glory as the future, for all eternity—what do I want more?” Stop, there is something more! The Father, in His unsearchable wisdom, grace and love, has something else in store for you—not up there, but down here in the wilderness.

“And not only so, but we rejoice also in tribulations” (Ro 5:3). Certainly, it is something beautiful to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. But to rejoice in tribulations (2Co 12:9, 10) is a very different thing. The Israelties sang a lofty song of praise to Jehovah, when He had led His people dry-shod through the Red Sea to the shore of safety and deliverance, after they had seen the returning waves covering Pharoah and his numberless chariots, horses and horsemen.

But what do we find at the end of the same chapter? Scarcely had the last note of that high triumphant song of redemption died away, when close upon its heels followed the murmuring, for “they came to Marah,” and “they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter” (Exo 15:23-25). So did Israel, the earthly people of God. What about us, His heavenly people? “These things are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come” (1Co 10:11).

How much nearer, than that of Israel, our relationship is to the Father! How much higher and more perfect our position, our vocation, our hope; and how incomparably greater are our blessings than those of Israel! The difference is just as wide as that between heaven and earth. Have we, when coming to “Marah,” murmured like Israel? Or have we, perhaps, after having such a hymn of praise at the Lord’s Table, on the resurrection-day of our Lord, murmured the next hour, when coming to some bitter water?

It is a fine thing to rise above the pressure of circumstances in the power of faith; it is quite another thing, to bend in patience under them and learn that Christian endurance, which can only be made our own in the Father’s school of tribulations. Flesh (old man i.e. sin nature—NC) and nature do not relish the crucible, and to those who have not peace with God, the tempter often whispers: “God is against you; He deals as Judge with you for your sins, which proves that your sins are unforgiven and that you are not His child. This is only a foretaste of the eternal judgement awaiting you, if you should die with this illness, or if your heart should break under this crushing blow God has inflicted upon you.”

“Not at all,” says the child of God that enjoys peace with Him (regardless the conditions—NC). “My Father is for me, and for this very reason He has sent me these trials, ‘for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth . . . for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not’ (Heb 12:6, 7; also Rev 3:19). He is dealing with me as a Father, not as a Judge!”

—William John Hocking (1864-1953)

Miles J Stanford devotional excerpt for 4/21:

“It is a great comfort to know that everything our Father takes us through—much of which may be hard and heartbreaking—has a dual purpose. That which He utilizes to cause us to grow spiritually is at the same time designed to prepare us for His service. He does nothing in vain; He wastes nothing.” -MJS

“In the very service itself God makes the servant fit to carry it out. A person is first disciplined for service, and then in the service he is made fit by it for the character of it. God has not servants ready-made. He makes them fit for His own service in connection with the race they have to run. The word ‘chasten’ is the same as that used in Ephesians with respect to bringing up the children: it is nurture. We attach too much the idea of severity, or retribution, to it.” -James Butler Stoney (1814-1897)