Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Afflictions Do Not Come Alone

This is a wonderful old hymn reminding us that in our afflictions, we are never alone. But, do we ever believe him? Do we believe that he loves us enough to scourge us? This is plain weird for the vast majority--a disgusting message--yet it is a plain gospel message of tough love; a painful necessity for every child of God.

I believe that John Newton had the following Scripture passage in mind when he wrote this:
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
–Hebrews 12:5-6 (King James Version)

Afflictions Do Not Come Alone

Words: John Newton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779), num­ber 135.

Afflictions do not come alone,
A voice attends the rod;
By both He to His saints is known,
A Father and a God!

Let not My children slight the stroke
I for chastisement send;
Nor faint beneath My kind rebuke,
For still I am their Friend.

The wicked I perhaps may leave
Awhile, and not reprove;
But all the children I receive
I scourge, because I love.

If therefore you were left without
This needful discipline;
You might, with cause, admit a doubt,
If you, indeed, were Mine.

Shall earthly parents then expect
Their children to submit?
And wilt not you, when I correct,
Be humbled at My feet?

To please themselves they oft chastise,
And put their sons to pain;
But you are precious in My eyes,
And shall not smart in vain.

I see your hearts, at present, filled
With grief, and deep distress;
But soon these bitter seeds shall yield
The fruits of righteousness.

Break through the clouds, dear Lord, and shine!
Let us perceive Thee nigh!
And to each mourning child of Thine
These gracious words apply.

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