We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt!
(Thomas Case, "The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions" 1653)
One lesson which God teaches us in the school of affliction, is how to prize and long for Heaven. In our prosperity, "when we wash our steps in butter, and the rock pours us out rivers of oil" (Job 29:6)—we could sit down with the present world, and say, "It is good for us to be here; let us build dwellings here."
While life is sweet—then death is bitter.
Heaven itself is no enticement—while the world gives us her alluring baits.
But when poverty and imprisonment, reproach and persecution, sickness and sore diseases—pinch and vex our hearts with a variety of afflictions—then we are not so fond of the creature, and are pleased to parley with death, and take Heaven into our consideration.
God by putting us into the school of affliction, takes off our hearts by degrees from this present world, and makes us look homeward. Being burdened, we groan—and with the dove we return to the ark, when the world is sinking round about us.
We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt—if God did not set cruel taskmasters over us to double our burdens. And when God thus lessens our esteem of the world—He reveals to us the excellency of heavenly comforts, and draws out the desires of the soul to Himself:
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1-2
"Even so, come Lord Jesus!" Revelation 22:20
Afflictions make Heaven appear as Heaven indeed!
To the weary, Heaven is rest;
to the banished, it is home;
to the scorned and reproached, it is glory;
to the captive, it is liberty;
to the soldier, it is victory;
to the hungry, it is hidden manna;
to the thirsty, it is the fountain of life;
to the grieved, it is fullness of joy; and
to the mourner, it is pleasures forevermore.
In a word, to those who have lain upon the dunghill of affliction, and walked in holiness—Heaven is the throne on which they shall sit and reign with Christ forever and ever!