“It is good for a man that he bears the yoke in his youth.” Lamentations 3:27.
It is also good that when we begin to serve God that we should bear the yoke in another sense, namely, by finding difficulties. If it were in my power to make the way of serving Christ very easy to every young Christian here, I would not do it. If it were possible to make all Sunday school work pleasant, I would not do it. If it were possible to make standing up in the open air to preach a very easy thing, I would not make it so! It is good for you that you bear the yoke. It is good that your service should involve self-denial, and try your patience. It is good for you that the girls should not be very orderly, and that the boys should not be very teachable when you get them in the class. It is good for you that the crowd should not stand still and listen very meekly to you, and that infidels should put ugly questions to you when you are preaching in the street. It is good, I know, for the young minister to encounter curious church members, and even to meet with an adversary who means to overthrow him. It is a good thing for a true worker for the devil to labor to put him down, because if God has put him up, he cannot be put down, but the attempt to overthrow him will do him good, develop his spiritual muscles, and bring out the powers of his mind! A very easy path would not be profitable to us. Consider David after Samuel had put the oil on his head, and anointed him to be the future king of Judah; it would have been a very bad thing for him to have waited in inglorious ease and slumbered away the interval. But take David and send him into the wilderness to keep the sheep; bring him to Saul’s court and let Saul throw a javelin at him—send him to fight with Goliath; banish him afterwards to the tracks of the wild goats, and compel him to live in the dens and caves and make him fight for his life, and by this process you will educate a hero, fit to rule Israel. He comes to the throne no longer a youth and ruddy, but a man of war from his youth up, and he is, therefore, ready to smite the Philistines or the children of Ammon as the champion of the Lord of hosts. It is good, then, to bear the yoke in the sense of undertaking service for Jesus and finding difficulty in it.
And it is good yet further, to meet with persecution in your youth. If it were possible to take every young Christian and put him into a pious family and not let him go into the world at all, but always keep him in his mother’s lap—if it were possible to take every working man and guarantee that he should only work in a shop where they sing Psalms from morning to night, where nobody ever swears, where no-body ever utters a word of chaff against him—why, I say, if it were possible to do this, I do not know that it would be wise to do it! To keep people out of temptation is exceedingly proper, and none of us have any right to put a temptation in another s way; but it is good for us to be tempted, sometimes, otherwise we would not know the real condition of our hearts, and might be rotting with inward pride while blooming with outward morality. Temptation lets us know how weak we are, and drives us to our knees. It tests our faith and tries our love—and lets us see whether our graces are genuine or not.
C H Spurgeon