This was not the pleasant life which they dreamed of on their wedding day…

Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward. – Job 5:7

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

There are many crucial lessons which Christians cannot learn in the sunshine of prosperity. So the great Teacher calls us apart and shuts the doors, to keep out the light and exclude the world’s noises–and then He teaches us the songs . . .
of peace,
of joy,
of trust,
of love.
Thus the painful things of life have their place in the divine training of our lives.

Many of the things our Master calls us to do or to endure, do not seem to our eyes at the time, to be the best things. Much of our life is disappointment. Sorrow comes ofttimes with . . .
its hot tears,
its emptyings of the heart,
its pain,
its bitterness.

We do not know when we set out on any bright, sunny path–into what sorrowful experiences we shall be led. A noble young man married a sweet, beautiful girl. They were very happy. Life began for them in a garden of roses. Only three bright years had passed, however, when the young wife broke down in health. Then she became an invalid, much of the time unable to leave her room. The burden has been a very heavy one for the husband, requiring continual self-denial and sacrifice, besides the grief and anxiety it has brought.

This was not the pleasant life which they dreamed of on their wedding day! They thought only of gladness and prosperity. It never occurred to them that adversity or any trouble could break into their sweet paradise.

But the Master has made no mistake. To those who have watched their lives and noted the fruit of the suffering in them, it is becoming apparent that divine love and kindness are written in all the painful lines of the long story. The young man has been growing all the years . . .
in strength,
in gentleness,
in purity of spirit,
in self-control,
in the peace of God,
in all manly virtues.
It seemed a strange place to make him cast his nets–into the deep waters of affliction and disappointment–but he is now drawing them full of rich and noble blessings.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

J. R. Miller, 1840-1912, The Glory of the Commonplace

Published in: on June 6, 2016 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Three rules for a happy marriage

Of all relationships of life, none ought to be regarded with such reverence, and none taken in hand so cautiously as the relationship of husband and wife.

In no relationship is so much earthly happiness to be found, if it be entered upon discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God. In none is so much misery seen to follow, if it be taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly, and without thought.

From no step in life does so much benefit come to the soul, if people marry “in the Lord.” From none does the soul take so much harm, if fancy, passion, or any mere worldly motive is the only cause which produce the union.

There is, unhappily, only too much necessity for impressing these truths upon people. It is a mournful fact, that few steps in life are generally taken with so much levity, self will, and forgetfulness of God as marriage. Few are the young couples who think of inviting Christ to their wedding!

It is a mournful fact that unhappy marriages are one great cause of the misery and sorrow of which there is so much in the world. People find out too late that they have made a mistake, and go in bitterness all their days.

Happy are they, who in the matter of marriage observe three rules:

The first is to marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God’s approval and blessing.

The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels.

The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another’s sanctification (holiness). The more holy married people are, the happier they are.

J. C. Ryle, The Gospel of Mark, 1857

Published in: on May 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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