Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Love smote

But all the afflictions of the believer are the effects of Divine love. They can resolve themselves into nothing else. While the same stroke, falling upon an unbelieving, rebellious, sin-loving sinner, may be the first-fruits of eternal punishment, to the saint of God it may prove the first-fruits of eternal glory. The correction which you at present consider as an argument of wrath, may be an evidence of love and an act of mercy. God will prune you, but not hew you down. The 'right hand of His mercy' knows what the 'left hand of His severity' is doing. Better for you to be a chastened son, than an undisciplined child of the devil. Oh yes! there was no anger, no vindictiveness, no vengeance in that heavy stroke which laid your heart's fondest treasure in the dust. Love smote, but love yearned while it smote.  - Octavius Winslow, from "The Chastening of Love"

 This week in our small group, we have decided to look at suffering and the Lord's discipline. We wanted to discuss how they relate, interact, and are defined by Scripture. In my readings I came across this article by a favourite of mine, Octavius Winslow. I was accosted by the first two lines of this paragraph. All the afflictions of the believer are the effects of Divine love. Does anything happen outside of the sovereign purview of Almighty God? No. Does God ever relate to His elect, His adopted children, as anything less than their heavenly Father? No. Therefore, it seems, every difficulty of the Christian can "resolve themselves into nothing else" than the loving, disciplining actions of a benevolent Father. To those not of the household of God, the exact same situations and experiences may be the "first-fruits of eternal punishment", but to the sheep of His pasture those trials are the "first-fruits of eternal glory".

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