“I do not know whether my experience is that of all God’s people; but I am afraid that all the grace that I have got out of my comfortable and easy times and happy hours, might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows, and pains, and griefs, is altogether incalculable. What do I not owe to the hammer and the anvil, the fire and the file? What do I not owe to the crucible and the furnace, the bellows that have blown up the coals, and the hand which has thrust me into the heat? Affliction is the best bit of furniture in my house. It is the best book in a minister’s library. We may wisely rejoice in tribulation, because it worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope; and by that way we are exceedingly enriched, and our faith grows strong.”
I would have to say that I, without a doubt, agree with Charles Spurgeon on the benefits of afflictions.
Today was day five and because of my afflliction, I’ve had more time to reflect on things. Today was also my first day out running some errands. But, because of my “affliction,” my wife had to drive me everywhere.
Have you ever stopped to think about what a blessing it is to be able to jump in your car and drive yourself wherever you want to go? I can’t say I’ve given it much thought – until today, when I had to be driven to all the places I wanted to go.
Then, there’s the matter of limited activity. I’ve always been a very active person. I like to be doing something most of the time. I play tennis, do woodwork, keep bees, fix things, and so I’m almost always involved in something. But now, because of my “affliction,” I can’t do much.
So, what has been the result of this change in my active lifestyle? Well, for one thing, it has made me grateful for the fact that I have had great health, and that this time of inactivity has made me reflect on how blessed I’ve been most of my life.
This afternoon, after we returned from all our errands, I sat down in my recliner. My wife came in and said, “Being forced to relax isn’t so bad, is it?” To which I replied, “No, it isn’t.”
Last night I awoke at around 2 AM and decided to read for a while. I read for about a half an hour and enjoyed it tremendously. It was a blessing.
I am being “forced” to slow down a bit. But, if times like these force us to reflect on our many blessings, than these “afflictions” are actually blessings.
The Psalmist has said, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
Since I became a Christian (over 32 years ago), I have had several “accidents” and maladies. To name a few, I’ve had a lacerated finger, an emergency appendectomy, a fall down the stairs (with my infant son in my arms), a torn rotator cuff – on both shoulders. I won’t go into everything.
I have to say that I have grown more spiritually and had closer fellowship with Christ during my “afflictions” than any other time in my Christian experience. So, although I do not welcome afflictions, I have come to realize that they have been a source of rich blessing to me, and I actually expect to be blessed when I am in the midst of painful experiences.
Today’s pain was minimal – except when I bump my arm. I have three incisions on my shoulder and all have stitches in them which will be removed on my first visit with my surgeon on September 12th.