Sufferers Make Strong Believers
"It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth" (Lamentations 3:27).
This is as good as a promise. It has been good, it is good, and it will be good for me to bear the yoke. Early in life I had to feel the weight of conviction, and ever since it has proved a soul-enriching burden. Should I have loved the gospel so well had I not learned by deep experience the need of salvation by grace? Jabez was more honorable than his brethren because his mother bare him with sorrow, and those who suffer much in being born unto God make strong believers in sovereign grace. The yoke of censure is an irksome one, but it prepares a man for future honor. He is not fit to be a leader who has not run the gauntlet of contempt. Praise intoxicates if it be not preceded by abuse. Men who rise to eminence without struggle usually fall into dishonor. The yoke of affliction, disappointment, and excessive labor is by no means to be sought for; but when the LORD lays it on us in our youth, it frequently develops a character which glorifies God and blesses the church. Come, my soul, bow thy neck; take up they cross. It was good for thee when young; it will not harm thee now. For Jesus' sake, shoulder it carefully.