Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
Read Chapter 6
Gregory The Dialogist
19. But perchance he entreats such things through stubbornness, perchance, in that he wishes to be entirely annihilated, he charges the injustice of the smiter. Far be the thought! For with what feeling he begs it, he shews in the following words, saying, Nor will I gainsay the speech of the Holy One. So then he never murmurs against the injustice of Him that dealeth the blow, who even amidst the strokes calls his smiter ‘the Holy One.’ But we ought to know that it is sometimes the adversary, and sometimes God that bruises us with affliction. Now by the bruising of the adversary, we are made defaulters in virtue; but when we are broken by the bruising of the Lord, from vicious habits we are made strong in virtue. This bruising the Prophet had foreseen when he said, Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. [Ps. 2, 9] The Lord ‘rules and breaks us with a rod of iron,’ in that by the strong rule of righteousness in His dispensation, while He reanimates us within, He distresses us without. For as He abases the power of the flesh, He exalts the purpose of the spirit; and hence this bruising is compared to a potter's vessel, as is also delivered by Paul, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels. [2 Cor. 4, 7] And describing at the same time the dashing in pieces and the ruling [Vulg. has, Thou shalt rule them, for, Thou shalt break them], he saith, Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. Let the holy man who is eager to draw near to God even through strokes, exclaim in the spirit of humility.