I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. The LORD hath chastened me sore: but He hath not given me over unto death. – Psalm 118:17, 18
If we say, “I could bear anything but this,” we prove our universal impatience. If we had the choice of our crosses, the one we should choose would turn out to be more inconvenient than that which God appoints for us; and yet we will have it that our present cross is unsuitable and specially galling. I would say to any who are of that mind, “If your burden does not fit your shoulder, bear it till it does.” Time will reconcile you to the yoke if grace abides with you. It is not for us to choose our affliction; that remains with Him who chooses our inheritance for us. Read well this word, “The Lord hath chastened me sore,” and see the Lord’s hand in the soreness of your trial. Even while the wound is raw, and the smart is fresh; be conscious that the Lord is near.
Yet there is in the verse a “but”, for the psalmist perceives that his trial is limited; “but He hath not given me over to death.” Certain of the buts in Scripture are among the choicest jewels we have. Before us is a “but” which shows that, however deep affliction may be, there is a bottom to the abyss. There is a limit to the force, the sharpness, the duration and the number of our trials. ~ C.H. Spurgeon