God’s Purpose in Affliction

Iron, till it be thoroughly heated, is incapable to be wrought. So God sees good to cast some men into the furnace of affliction, and then beats them on His anvil into what frame He pleases. – Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

Christian Meditation

Solemn meditation is a serious applying the mind to some sacred subject till the affections be warmed and quickened, and the resolution heightened and strengthened thereby against what is evil and for that which is good. – George Swinnock (1627-1673)

From the Psalms

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands. You shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. (Psalm 128.1-2)


If there is a God, where does evil come from? If there is no God, where does good come from? – Boethius (c. 477 – 524) (paraphrased)

“Rejoice! I Have Found My Sheep!”

There were ninety and nine that safely lay/In the shelter of the fold/But one was out on the hills away/Far off from the gates of gold/Away on the mountains wild and bare/Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

“Lord, You have here Your ninety and nine/Are they not enough for You?”/But the Shepherd made answer/”This of mine has wandered away from me/And although the road be rough and steep/I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew/How deep were the waters crossed/Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through/Ere He found His sheep that was lost/Out in the desert He heard its cry/Sick and helpless and ready to die.

“But all through the mountains, thunder-riven/And up from the rocky steep/There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven/”Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”/And the angels echoed around the throne/”Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!” – Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane (1830-1869)

From the Psalms

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. . .Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalm 127.1, 3)