It sounds too good to be true—triumph through trials. It even sounds contradictory. Trials: the word is pregnant with heaviness: —pain, “Oh God, how can I stand it; can’t someone do something about it?” —misery, “Let me die; I can’t go on any more.” —fear, “Is it cancer? How long do I have, Doctor? Will I have much pain?” —sorrow, “He’s gone, Oh bitter grief!” —loneliness, “The house rings with silence. I hear her voice, yet she’s gone.”
What a contrast between bastards and sons. A bastard is an illegitimate child. From the point of view of those who are responsible for his existence, he shouldn’t have been born, his existence testifies of sin. From his own point of view he is a misfit, he doesn’t belong in the home. There are such spiritual bastards. Jesus spoke of the Pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do,” John 8:44.
“For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.” Psalm 73:14
What a blessed confession. Bold, to be sure, but most blessed. “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,” Rom. 8:28. Do you know this? Are you one of them who loves God? This is the knowledge of peace.
Frustrating, isn’t it, how we can have good days and bad days. Good and bad, that is, regarding faith. One day we can be so strong, we smile; the next day we can be so cast down, the whole world is shrouded with clouds.
That’s quite a list whereby the Apostle Paul describes the character of our physical bodies: corruption, dishonor, weakness, and natural, see I Cor. 15:42-44. It’s very accurate.
Flower pots. Stoneware. Pottery. Earthenware. Call them what you will, they are made from mud, turned on a wheel, baked, and used either with or without painting. Though durable, they are somewhat fragile. This kind of pottery is an earthly picture of our bodies. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,” II Cor. 4:7. Good comparison!
T’was an awesome sight. The temple. Its dazzling beauty; gold shimmering in heavenly light. Its majestic pillars, standing with divine’authority. Its somber courts, enhanced with smoke from the altar. It was God’s house. And Israel came to dwell with God. They bowed in reverence; the fear of Jehovah was in this place. But, wait!
Pain! Reflect on it for a moment. Remember the burning deep inside, the tears you shed, the groaning. Sometimes you felt like screaming but bit your tongue in silence. Some of us have experienced a lot more of it than others. Think of Job for a moment. The catalog of pain for that poor man is indeed long.