“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5
“Christian reader, we suppose you to be no stranger to grief; your heart has known what sorrow is; you have borne, perhaps for years, some heavy, painful, yet concealed cross. Over it, in the solitude and silence of privacy, you have wept, agonized, and prayed. And still the cross, though mitigated, is not removed. Have you ever thought of the sympathy of Christ? Have you ever thought of Him, as bearing that cross with you?—as entering into its peculiarity, its minutest circumstance? Oh, there is a fiber in His heart that sympathizes, there is a chord there that vibrates, to that grief of yours. That cross He is bearing with you at this moment; and although you may feel it to be so heavy and painful, as to be lost to the sweet consciousness of this, still it rests on Him, as on you; and were He to remove His shoulder but for a moment, you would be crushed beneath its pressure. “Then why, if so tender and sympathizing, does He place upon me this cross?” Because of His wisdom and love. He sees you need that cross. You have carried it, it may be, for years: who can tell where and what you would have been at this moment, but for this very cross? What evil in you it may have checked; what corruption in you it may have subdued; what constitutional infirmities it may have weakened; from what lengths it has kept you; from what rocks and precipices it has guarded you; and what good it has been silently and secretly, yet effectually, working in you all the long years of your life—who can tell but God Himself? The removal of that cross might have been the removal of your greatest mercy. Hush, then, every murmur; be still, and know that He is God; and that all these trials, these sufferings, these untoward circumstances, are now working together for your good and His glory.
And what would you know, may we not ask, of Jesus—His tenderness, and love, and sympathizing heart—but for the rough and thorny path along which you have been thus led? The glory and fullness, the preciousness and sympathy of Christ are not learned in every circumstance of life. The hour of prosperity, when everything passes smoothly on—providences smiling—the heart’s surface unruffled—the gladsome sunlight of creature-happiness gilding every prospect with its brightness—this is not the hour, nor these the circumstances, most favorable to an experimental acquaintance with Christ. It is in the dark hour of suffering—the hour of trial and of adversity, when the sea is rough, and the sky is lowering, and providences are mysterious, and the heart is agitated, and hope is disappointed—its bud nipped, and its stem broken, and creature comfort and support fail—oh, then it is the fullness, and preciousness, and tenderness of Jesus are learned. Then it is the heart loosens its hold on created objects, and entwines itself more fondly and more closely around the Incarnate Son of God. Blessed Jesus! You Brother born for our every adversity! did You take our nature into union with Your own? And can You, do You, weep when we weep, and rejoice when we rejoice? O You adorable Son of God! we stand amazed, and are lost in this love, this condescension, and this sympathy of Your. Draw our hearts to Yourself; let our affections rise and meet in You, their center, and cling to You, their all.”
(Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”)