All the Hell You Shall Ever Have!

There is a little book called “The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod.” written by Thomas Brooks in the 1600s which speaks about how suffering can be seen in some senses as God’s loving discipline for us. Of course it was written in an era, unlike ours, of great suffering. I commend this little book to you which I have read this morning thanks to one of my readers recommending it in a comment on my Preparing for Unexpected Suffering post.

The book begins simply by quoting perhaps one of the most challenging verses in the Bible for those of us who are suffering to read. And yet, somehow we know that it is true:

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted…”

—Psalm 119:71

Though the oyster is not grateful for the grain of sand irritating it, a pearl is produced nonetheless.  And there is much treasure that is obtained only by walking the difficult path.

I encourage you to read the whole short book, but here are some extracts that I found helpful this morning:

Consider Christian, that all your

  • trials and troubles
  • calamities and miseries
  • crosses and losses

—which you meet with in this world are all the hell that you shall ever have!

Here and now, you have your hell. Hereafter you shall have your heaven! This is the worst of your condition; the best is yet to come!

Lazarus had his hell first, his heaven last; but Dives had his heaven first and his hell at last. You have all your pangs, and pains, and throes here that you shall ever have! Your ease, and rest, and pleasure are yet to come!

Here you have all your bitters; your sweets are yet to come! Here you have your sorrows; your joys are yet to come! Here you have all your winter nights; your summer days are yet to come! Here you have your evil things; your good things are yet to come!

Death will put an end to all your sins and to all your sufferings! Death will be an inlet to those joys, delights, and comforts which shall never have an end!

Who can seriously meditate upon this and not be silent under God’s most smarting rod?

. . . Christian! Your present afflictions are not great, if compared with the afflictions and torments of many of the damned, who, when they were in this world, never sinned at so high a rate as you have done! There are many now in hell, who never sinned against such clear light as you have done, nor against such special love as you have done, nor against such precious mercies as you have done! Certainly, there are many now a-roaring in everlasting burnings, who never sinned as you have done!

What are your afflictions, your present torments, compared to the torments of the damned, whose torments are number- less, bottomless, remediless, and endless!

Whose pains are without intermission of mitigation; who have weeping served for the first course, gnashing of teeth for the second course, the gnawing worm for the third course, and intolerable pain for the fourth course!

Yet the pain of the body is the least part of pain. The very soul of sorrow and pain is the soul’s sorrow and pain! The ever- lasting alienation and separation from God is served for the fifth course!

Ah, Christian! How can you seriously think on these things and not lay your hand upon your mouth, even when you are under the greatest temporal sufferings? Your sins have been far greater than many of those who are now in hell, and your “great” afflictions are but a fleabite compared to theirs! Therefore, hush your murmuring, and be silent before the Lord!

Are you cast upon a sick bed? You have deserved a bed in hell.

Our present sufferings

Such is the splendor, the brightness, the glory, the happiness, and blessedness which is reserved for the saints in heaven, that had I all the tongues of men on earth, and all the excellencies of the angels in heaven, yet I would not be able to conceive nor to express that vision of glory to you! That glory is inconceivable and inexpressible! It is best to be hastening there, that we may feel and enjoy that which we shall never be able to declare!

All the troubles, afflictions, and sorrows of this life, in comparison with eternal happiness and blessedness, are to be considered as nothing. They are but as the point of a pin compared to the starry heavens.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”—Romans 8:18.

And will you murmur?

Is not Christ your treasure? Is not heaven your inheritance, and will you murmur?

Have you not much in hand, and more in hope? Have you not much in possession, but much more reserved in heaven, and will you murmur?

Has not God given you:

  • a changed heart
  • a renewed nature
  • a sanctified soul

—and will you murmur?

Has He not given you:

  • Himself to satisfy you
  • His Son to save you
  • His Spirit to lead you
  • His grace to adorn you
  • His covenant to assure you
  • His mercy to pardon you
  • His righteousness to clothe you

—and will you murmur?

Has He not made you:

  • a friend
  • a son
  • a brother
  • a bride
  • an heir

—and will you murmur?

Has not God often turned:

  • your water into wine
  • your brass into silver
  • your silver into gold

—and will you murmur?

When you were dead, did not He quicken you?

When you were lost, did not He seek you?

When you were wounded, did not He heal you?

When you were falling, did not He support you?

When you were down, did not He raise you?

When you were staggering, did not He establish you?

When you were erring, did not He correct you?

 When you were tempted, did not He support you?

When you went in dangers, did not He deliver you?

—and will you murmur?

. . . If our afflictions are so sanctified as that they draw out our soul:

  • to love the Lord more
  • to fear the Lord more
  • to please the Lord more
  • to cleave to the Lord more
  • to wait on the Lord more
  • to walk with the Lord more

—then they are sent in love. Oh, then they are the wounds of a friend indeed!

If the afflictions that are upon us do:

  • increase our courage
  • strengthen our patience
  • raise our faith
  • inflame our love
  • enliven our hopes

—certainly they are sent in love, and all our wounds are the wounds of a friend.

Images: Pixabay


More posts by Adrian on Suffering


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