We cannot tell trials from a chastening hand because we don’t want to make fundamental changes.

There is a verse in Revelation does not apply to us in its fullest sense, but which applies to us in large measure.

Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;

We know that we belong to the true church of Jesus Christ. We enjoy some measure of the Holy Ghost at times, and generally enjoy a generous measure of the light of Christ.

But we have cast off much of the decency that even our nonmember great grandparents knew God required of people, and it is costing us severely.

We do not know how to account for the painful costs we find ourselves paying. But when you get to know individuals in the church, what do you find? Each seems to be struggling with things that seem more like the usual and expected results of sin than with the joy God has reserved for his saints.

Does God try his people? Yes. But there is a difference between being tried and tested and between being chastened. And in order to hold on to our misbehavior we call God’s chastening hand a “trial” and a “test” and a “tribulation” and say to ourselves that “bad things happen to good people”.

We know we should be enjoying the joy of the saints. And so we put on a happy face. But the joys of the gospel are fleeing from us and will continue to until we repent and return to our God in truth.

Thus, in this sense, the scripture is true of us as well:

“thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;”

 

 

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