Do you see your heavenly Father, a pure and holy being, spotless, just, perfect? Do you know that you are, one day, to be like Him? Do you think that you will easily come to be conformed to His image? Will you not require much furnace work, much grinding in the mill of trouble, much breaking with the pestle in the mortar of affliction, much being broken under the wheels of agony? Do you think it will be an easy thing for your heart to become as pure as God is? Do you think you can so soon get rid of your corruptions and become perfect even as your Father, who is in heaven, is perfect?
Lift up your eye, again. Do you discern those bright spirits clad in white, purer than alabaster, more chaste, more fair than Parian marble? Behold them as they stand in glory. Ask then whence their victory came. Some of them will tell you – they swam through seas of blood. Behold the scars of honor on their brows. See, some of them lift up their hands and tell you they were once consumed in fire, while others were slain by the sword, rent in pieces by wild beasts, were destitute, afflicted, tormented.
O, you noble army of martyrs, you glorious hosts of the living God! Must you swim through seas of blood and shall I hope to ride to heaven wrapped in furs and ermine? Did you endure suffering and shall I be hampered with the luxuries of this world? Did you fight and then reign and must I reign without a battle? Oh, no. By God’s help, I will expect that, as you suffered, so must I, and as through much tribulation you entered the kingdom of heaven, so shall I. – Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), from the sermon “Consolation Proportionate to Spiritual Sufferings” (2 Corinthians 1.5), preached on March 11, 1855.