If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for He will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid at suffering for Christ, for He has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ's side and if the wind is now in His face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. You cannot be above your Master who received many an innocent stroke. The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. A pool of standing water will turn stagnant. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You cannot sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into His image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do anything to perfect Your image in us and make us fit for glory! We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the file, hammer and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory. As we look back to our pains and suffering, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night's welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself and let Him bear all. He can, He does and He will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, He comes with Himself. Have courage, I am your salvation! Welcome, welcome Jesus!
Samuel Rutherford
The most wonderful thing of all about the cross is that it reveals the love of God to us. It is not surprising that Paul should say to the Romans, God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How do we see the love of God in the cross? Ah, says the modern man, I see it in this way, that though man rejected and murdered the Son of God, God in His love still says, All right, I still forgive you. Though you have done that to My Son, I still forgive you. Yes, that is part of it, but it is the smallest part of it. That is not the real love of God. God was not a passive spectator of the death of His Son. That is how the moderns put it - that God in heaven looked down upon it all, saw men killing His own Son and said, All right, I will still forgive you. But it was not we who brought God's Son to the cross. It was God. It was the predeterminate counsel and foreknowledge of God.If you really want to know what the love of God means, read what Paul wrote to the Romans: For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. God condemned sin in the flesh of His own Son. This is the love of God. Read again Isaiah 53, that wonderful prophecy of what happened on Calvary's hill. You notice how he goes on repeating it: Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows... it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief. These are the terms. And they are nothing but a plain, factual description of what happened on the cross.
D. Martyn LloydJones