We were helped recently by the words of Spurgeon (full text available at www.puritansermons.com/spurgeon/spurgeo4.htm ). If you feel like we're coping well with this situation, our confession is that it is mainly because we are upheld in the knowledge that we are in the hands of the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, not the remote heartless 'blind watchmaker' or the judgemental and capricious adolescent that some imagine they see on the pages of the bible... "From our Lord's words [in Jn 11:4] we learn that there is a limit to sickness...."
When God wills it, sickness will bear us unto deep decline, but not unto death; unto weariness of body, but not unto weakness of soul; unto restlessness, but not unto wretchedness; unto moaning, but not unto murmuring. unto depression, but not unto despair. There are bounds about this mount of fire. Wisdom hangs up the thermometer at the furnace mouth and regulates the heat...
1. The limit is encouragingly comprehensive. The God of providence has limited the time, manner, intensity, repetition, and effects of all our sicknesses; each throb is decreed, each sleepless hour predestinated, each relapse ordained, each depression of spirit foreknown, and each sanctifying result eternally purposed. If the minutiae were not in the decree, we might fret over little things; but now we dare not, lest we murmur against the Lord: if our great pains were not regulated by wisdom, we might be alarmed at them, but now we need not be afraid. Nothing great or small escapes the ordaining hand of him who numbers the hairs of our head, and keeps the paths of our feet.
2. This limit is wisely adjusted to our strength, to the end designed, and to the grace apportioned. Affliction comes not at haphazard; the weight of every stroke of the rod is accurately measured. He who made no mistakes in balancing the clouds and meting out the heavens, commits no errors in measuring out the ingredients which compose the medicine of souls. We cannot suffer too much nor be relieved too late. The wind is tempered to the shorn lamb; the load is fitted to the weak shoulder.
3. The limit is tenderly appointed. The knife of the heavenly Surgeon never cuts deeper than is absolutely necessary. A father smites no harder than duty constrains. "He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." A mother's heart cries, "Spare my child." but no mother is more compassionate than our gracious God. When we consider how hard-mouthed we are, it is a wonder that we are not driven with a sharper bit. So much rust requires much of the file; but love is gentle of hand.