Benefits of severe affliction

(James Buchanan)

"This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction: that Your Word has revived me and given me life." Psalm 119:50

It is not one of the least benefits of severe affliction, that it shatters our confidence in every other support, and breaks up our hopes from every other quarter — and leads us, in simplicity, to search the Word of God for comfort. Nor is it one of the least recommendations of that precious Book, that its characters become more bright in proportion as all else around us is dark; and that, when all other information becomes insipid or nauseous — its truths are rendered only the more sweet and refreshing by the bitter draught of sorrow.

The Bible cannot be known in its excellence,
nor its truths relished in their sweetness,
nor its promises duly appreciated and enjoyed
 — until, by adversity, all other consolation is lost, and all other hopes are destroyed. But then, when we carry it with us into the fiery furnace of affliction, like the aromatic plant which must be burnt before the precious perfume is released — it emits a refreshing fragrance, and is relished in proportion as our sufferings are great.

Glorious peculiarity! Other books may amuse the hours of ease. Other knowledge may suffice to pass the short day of prosperity — but this Book alone is for the hour of sorrow; this knowledge comes to our aid when all other knowledge fails. Like the sweet stars of Heaven, the truths of God shine most brightly in the darkest night of sorrow!