The master-strokes of the Divine Artist!
(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)
"We would have speedy riddance of trouble — but God does not think it fit to grant our request. Showers that come by drops and soak into the earth, are better than those which come in a tempest and hurricane!"
The gradualness and long continuance of a trial, which are its sharpness and bitterness — are also, to a large extent, the causes of its usefulness. If the sharp affliction came and departed with a rush — we would be rather swept away by it, than softened and saturated by its influence. To push a crucible among the glowing coals and snatch it out again, would answer no purpose in refining — the metal must tarry in the furnace until the fire has done its work.
Perhaps the reader has long lived in the perpetual grip of affliction, and now feels himself to be quite weary of the endless torture. Let him not faint under the lengthened process — the highest degree of benefit is accruing to him, from the continuance of his adversity!
In the later part of a trial, every stroke brings forth a tenfold result, and operates with a greatly increased efficacy. It would be a pity for the Lord to stay His hand, when it is working with such special and marked result. All the preceding affliction has only worked the heart into a fit condition to receive the master-strokes of the Divine Artist! The foundational colors have hitherto been laid on — but the second and finishing touch is now being given! Therefore, do not ask God's hand to cease, but rather pray that its work may be carried on with power, and the Lord's glory be seen in it all.
It will not cease raining yet — and why should it, so long as the soil is being softened, saturated, and fertilized by the falling drops? Let patience have her perfect work — and how can that be, unless the tribulation runs its full time?
Lord, make me ready to tarry for the vision, however long it may be delayed. Your way of trying me is the best. I would not hurry Your hand, if I could!