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echoes of thought in love with God through Christ crucified

Tag: suffering (page 1 of 2)

Do not measure God’s love and favour by your own feeling. As God loved you before, so He loves you as well and as dearly still; when He hides His face, as when He bestows His lovingkindness to shine most comfortably upon you. He loved Christ as dearly when He hanged on the tree, in torment of soul and body, as He did when He said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17); yea, and when He received Him up into glory.

The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof. So God loves us as well when He does not shine in the brightness of His countenance upon us as when He does. Job was as much beloved of God in the midst of his miseries as he was afterwards when he came to enjoy the abundance of his mercies (Job 42:7).

—Richard Sibbes
Adapted from The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, 2:320.

Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!”
—Luke 23:47—

We cannot always or even often control events, but we can control how we respond to them.

When things happen which dismay or appall, we ought to look to God for his meaning, remembering that He is not taken by surprise nor can his purposes be thwarted in the end. What God looks for is those who will worship Him. Our look of inquiring trust glorifies Him.

One of the witnesses to the crucifixion was a military officer to whom the scene was surely not a novelty. He had seen plenty of criminals nailed up. But the response of this Man who hung there was of such an utterly different nature than that of the others that the centurion knew at once that He was innocent. His own response then, rather than one of despair that such a terrible injustice should take place, or of anger at God who might have prevented it, was praise (Luke 23:47).

This is our first responsibility: to glorify God.

In the face of life’s worst reversals and tragedies, the response of a faithful Christian is praise—not for the wrong itself certainly, but for who God is and for the ultimate assurance that there is a pattern being worked out for those who love Him.

—Elisabeth Elliot
A Lamp Unto My Feet

God respects you as much in a low as in a high condition, and therefore it need not so much trouble you to be made low. Not only so but, to speak home, he manifests more of his love, grace, and tenderness in the time of affliction than prosperity. As God did not at first choose you because you were high, so he will not forsake you because you are low. Men may look shy upon you, and alter their respects as your condition is altered. When providence has blasted your estates, your summer friends may grow strange, as fearing you may be troublesome to them. But will God do so? No, no!

—John Flavel
Adapted from The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel, 5:442.

“The nurse lets the child get a knock sometimes, in order to make it more cautious.”

Thus does the Lord in Providence allow his children to suffer by their sins, that they may be more thoughtful in future. He has no hand in their sin; but, since the sin is in them, he allows circumstances to occur by which the evil is made manifest in open acts, which cause them sorrow.

When a physician sees a person suffering from an inward complaint, he may think it wise so to deal with his patient that the disease is brought to the surface; and thus also God may permit the sins of his people to come to an open sore, that they may be aware of them, and seek for healing.

The nurse does not make the child careless or cause it to tumble, but she withdraws her interposing care for the best of reasons, namely, that the little one may learn to avoid danger by a measure of suffering on account of it. It would be blasphemous to attribute sin to God; but it is a matter of fact that, by smarting for one fault, gracious men learn to avoid others.

—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).

Keep God’s covenant in your trials. Hold you by His blessed word, and sin not. Flee anger, wrath, grudging, envying, fretting. Forgive an hundred pence to your fellow-servant, because your Lord hath forgiven you ten thousand talents. For I assure you by the Lord, your adversaries shall get no advantage against you, except you sin and offend your Lord in your sufferings.

—Samuel Rutherford
Letters of Samuel Rutherford (Edinburgh: Oliphant, 1891), 57–58.

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