But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)
It is true that through much tribulation we must enter into the Kingdom of God. Yet when it comes to understanding the sufferings of this life, within the intentions and purposes of our loving heavenly Father, every believer is at loss to explain its details. We hear from pulpits and books of our "beloved Charles Spurgeon." However let us be exhorted and encouraged to hear from his wife, Susannah.
... she allows the reader a glimpse into the turmoil of her mind as she wrestled against anxiety, pain and self-pity. Lying on her bed one dark winter evening after a period of prolonged illness, Susannah found querulous [FLJ; expressing complaint, disposed to murmur, habitually complaining] and unbelieving thoughts invading her mind, destroying her spiritual peace: 'Why does God so often send sharp and bitter pain to visit me? Why does the Lord thus deal with his child?' The answer, unexpected yet plain, came in the form of a parable. Into the silence of the room, disturbed only by the noise of the crackling log burning in the hearth, broke a sound, clear and musical, not unlike birdsong. 'We listened again and heard the faint plaintive notes, so sweet, so melodious, yet mysterious enough to provoke for a moment our undisguised wonder.' Suddenly Susannah's friend exclaimed, 'It comes from the log on the fire.' She was right.
The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music from the old oak's inmost heart! ... Ah, thought I, when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then indeed are we purified, and our God is glorified ... Singing in the fire! Yes! God helping us, if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before. (Faith Cook, Singing in the Fire, 44)