Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24)

Affliction frequently opens truths to us and opens us to the truth—I know not which of these two is the more difficult.

Experience unlocks truths that else were closed against us; many passages of Scripture will never be made clear by the commentator, they must be expounded by living them.

Many a text is written in a secret ink that must be held to the fire of adversity to make it visible.

I have heard that you see stars in a well when none are visible above ground, and I am sure you can discern many a starry truth when you are down in the deeps of trouble which would not be visible to you elsewhere.

Besides, I said it opened us to the truth as well as the truth to us. We are superficial in our beliefs; we are often drenched with truth, and yet it runs off from us like water from a marble slab.

But affliction, as it were, plows us and subsoils us, and opens up our hearts so that into our innermost nature the truth permeates and soaks like rain into plowed land.

Blessed is that man who receives the truth of God into his inmost self; he shall never lose it, but it shall be the life of his spirit.

Affliction, when sanctified by the Holy Spirit, brings much glory to God out of Christians, through their experience of the Lord’s faithfulness to them.1

Charles Spurgeon

Further reading


  1. Charles Spurgeon, At the Master’s Feet [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], February 2.