JC Ryle was a great preacher and writer in England in the nineteenth century. He ministered at the same time as Charles Spurgeon, DL Moody, George Mueller, and Hudson Taylor. He was born into a very wealthy family, and was the oldest child and heir to the estate.
He didn't follow Christ as a young man, but before college graduation he contracted a serious lung infection. This trial pushed him to seek comfort in prayer and the Bible for the first time in fourteen years. Not long after this, he went to church and heard someone reading Ephesians 2:8, and he was born again.
After finishing college, Ryle went to law school with plans for a career in politics. But then tragedy struck. His father's bank crashed, and with it Ryle's funding for a career in law and politics. This changed the trajectory of Ryle's entire life. He was set to inherit everything -- the family home and money; he was headed for a life of ease, luxury, and wealth. But it was all gone. His Oxford education qualified him for the ministry, and so he was ordained as a pastor. This was all part of God's plan, leading Ryle to find his true calling. He went on to become one of the most famous preachers of all time.
But God wanted Ryle to do more than preach. On May 9, 1845, a large crowd assembled for the opening of the Great Yarmouth bridge, but it collapsed, causing the deaths of over one hundred people. The entire country was disturbed. Ryle then wrote his first tract about the uncertainties of life and the assurance of salvation through Jesus Christ. Thousands of copies were sold, launching his career as one of most beloved Christian authors of all time. He wrote more than 300 pamphlets, tracts, and books.
Ryle faced many difficulties in life -- poor health, the loss of three wives, the loss of his inheritance -- but God used it all for his good and God's glory. And God promises to do the same for you. He won't keep you from trials, but He will use every trial for your good (Romans 8:28). As you endure this present trial, "with all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow (Proverbs 3:5-6, CEV)."