Evening, May 18, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Afterwards.” — Hebrews 12:11
How happy are tested Christians … afterwards. There is no calm more deep than that which follows a storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear skies and sunshine after rain? Well-exercised soldiers earn victorious banquets. After killing the lion, we eat the honey; after climbing Bunyan’s Hill Difficulty, we sit down in the arbor to rest; after traversing the Valley of Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears, with the healing branch from the tree of life. Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them, “afterwards.” It is peace, precious, deep peace, which follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls. See, then, the happy fortune of a Christian! He has his best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are “afterward,” good things, with harsh tilling yielding joyful harvests. Even now he grows rich by his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and becomes full by being emptied; if, then, his serious afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life, what shall be the full vintage of joy “afterwards” in heaven? If his dark nights are as bright as the world’s days, what shall his days be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun, what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon, how melodiously will he sing in heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires, how much more will he exalt him before the eternal throne! If evil works out good in him now, what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then? Oh, blessed “afterward!” Who would not be a Christian? Who would not bear the present cross for the crown which comes afterwards? But here is work for patience, for the rest is not for today, nor the triumph for the present, but “afterward.” Wait, O soul, and let patience have her perfect work.