‘When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.’ Isaiah 43:2
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 4:12–19
Through much tribulation we must inherit the kingdom. Think it no strange thing when the fiery trial shall happen to you. If you have the common afflictions of the world do not wonder. You must have them. The same thing happens both to the evil and to the good. You lose in business, you have reverses and disappointments; do not stagger at these on the way to heaven. You must have these; they are necessary to your spiritual health. Worse than that, you have strange temptations, you are placed in a position where you are constantly exposed to sin. It must be so. This too is the pathway of God’s people; you must have these fiery temptations, that you, being tried in the fire, may come forth as gold seven times purified. You have mental anxieties. Neither let these seem a wonder to you. They fall to the lot of all the saints of the Most High. Moreover, you will have to endure the attacks of Satan, you must go through the valley of the shadow of death, and fight with Apollyon as Christian did; you are not to be exempted from the hardness of Christian warfare. If you will mount the hill, you must climb; if you are to win the crown, you must win it by sheer might. Think not this a strange thing. And if in doing good you meet with difficulties, let that not stagger you. It is but right and natural. I tell you again, if there be any pathway in which there be not fire, tremble; but if your lot be hard, thank God for it. If your sufferings be great, bless the Lord for them; and if the difficulties in your pathway be many, surmount them by faith, but let them not cast you down. Be of good courage, and wait on the Lord, setting this constantly in your minds that he has not promised to keep you from trouble, but to preserve you in it.
For meditation: The early Christians were properly taught to expect problems in the Christian life (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:4). Are you forewarned and forearmed for trouble (1 Peter 4:12) or does it take you by surprise and throw you into doubt and confusion?
Sermon no. 397
23 June (1861)