We should certainly enjoy our times of peace as a church, but we should not begrudge the Lord His methods of refining the body when it comes. We should in fact embrace it, for we know that if He is refining us, the wicked world of men are the abrasive compound that God would use to polish His church to reflect the image of His Son. Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), the puritan explains God’s intentions over the worlds.
“There is but one to whom all are subject. There is one grand wheel that turns all the others. And therefore Satan himself is serviceable to God’s end, whether he will or no.
And then for the world of wicked men, all their designs, though for the present they seem to be against the church, yet they are serviceable to the church. For the wicked men are but the launderers of the church, to wash the church, to purge it, to do base services that God intends for the refining of the church. And all their hatred is for the good of the church.
For God suffers the world to hate his children, that his children might not love the world, because it would be a dangerous love. The church is a strange corporation; it is such a corporation as hath greatest benefit by enemies. The enemies of the church are the promoters of the greatest good of the church.”