Malcolm Muggeridge, the Christian journalist who died in 1990, spoke for almost all serious biblical Christians who have lived long enough to wake up from the dreamworld of painlessness when he said:
Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful, with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy-five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained. In other words, if it ever were to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence by means of some drug or other medical mumbo jumbo … the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal or trivial to be endurable. This of course is what the cross [of Christ] signifies, and it is the cross more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ.3
Samuel Rutherford said that when he was cast into the cellars of affliction, he remembered that the great King always kept his wine there.4 Charles Spurgeon said that “they who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”
John Piper, Desiring God (Sisters, Or.: Multnomah Publishers, 2003), 265-66.