Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12, 13.
We do not always consider that the sanctification we so earnestly desire and for which we pray so earnestly is brought about through the truth and, by the providence of God, in a manner we least expect. When we look for joy, behold there is sorrow. When we expect peace, we frequently have distrust and doubt, because we find ourselves plunged into trials we cannot avoid. In these trials we are having the answers to our prayers. In order for us to be purified, the fire of affliction must kindle upon us, and our will must be brought into conformity to the will of God…. God sees it best to put us under a course of discipline which is essential for us before we are fit subjects for the blessing we crave.
We should not become discouraged and give way to doubt, and think that our prayers are not noticed. We should rely more securely upon Christ and leave our case with God to answer our prayers in His own way. God has not promised to bestow His blessings through the channels we have marked out…. The plans of God are always the best, although we may not always discern them. Perfection of Christian character can be obtained only through labor, conflict, and self-denial. We do not always count upon this, and do not consider the painful and often protracted process of purifying necessary for us in order that we may be conformed to the image of Christ. God frequently answers our prayers in a way we least expect. He brings us into positions which are the most trying, to reveal what is in our hearts. To further the development of Christian graces He will place us in circumstances which will demand increased exertion on our part to keep our faith in lively exercise.
Let us bear in mind how inestimably precious are the gifts of God—the graces of His Spirit—and we shall not shrink from the trying, testing process, be it ever so painful or humiliating to us.4Letter 9, 1873.