Charles Spurgeon, Victorian England’s most well known preacher, wrote the following concerning why the Christian has difficulties in this life:
“We would never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched or enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the wine-press. We would never discover the sweet perfume of cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten or feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed. The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which His vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights. Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Peace will be sweeter after conflict and rest more welcome after toil. The recollection of past sufferings will enhance the bliss of the glorified.”
Think about it, Christian. Who desires heaven more, the one who has never known anything but health, comfort, and ease or the one who is acquainted with sickness, hardship, and struggle? Show me a Christian who has mourned the loss of a loved one in Christ and I’ll show you a Christian who will enjoy heaven all the more because of the reunion. Show me a Christian who has never known the wealth of this world and I’ll show you a Christian who will truly appreciate that inheritance that Peter spoke of in 1 Peter 1:4, an inheritance “incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”
Perhaps, right now, you feel like you are being trodden in a wine-press, pressed and beaten, or consumed in a fire. Well, just keep in mind that such grueling experiences do indeed produce their crop. It is a two-fold crop. First, it creates in you a sincere longing for heaven. Second, it grants you the background to be able to properly appreciate heaven when you get there. Are these grueling experiences easy to live through? No, they aren’t. But you can get through them if you will just keep your eyes focused on this two-fold crop and the joys it brings.