The Christian is not immune from difficulties in this life. But we are not without help both from God and the community of believers who come around us in times of trouble.
One place I turn for help is The Loveliness of Christ by Samuel Rutherford. I cannot recommend him enough. He brings the perspective of one who has been through his own storms and is a better man for having endured them.
Here are a few excerpts:
“You may not know what the Lord is doing in a particular circumstance, but you will know hereafter. Let Christ know of your heavy cares. Let him bear all. Dear brother, do not become weary of your Master’s chains. We are closer to Christ when we suffer. Keep close by Christ, and let the wind blow. Rejoice in his cross. Your deliverance does not sleep and his promise is not slack. Wait for God’s appointed time of deliverance. You shall lose nothing in the furnace but dross. Not one ounce too much is laid on you. The devil is just a whetstone to sharpen the faith and patience of the saints. The Lord is cutting and polishing stones for the New Jerusalem. Be content to wade through the waters holding his hand, for he knows all the fords. You may be dunked, yet you cannot drown. Those who went before you went through blood, suffering, and many afflictions. Christ has borne the whole cross, and his saints bear only chips.”
“There is no sweeter fellowship with Christ than to bring our wounds and our sores to him.”
“The floods may swell and roar, but our ark shall swim above the waters; it cannot sink, because a Saviour is in it.”
“Christ and his cross together are sweet company, and a blessed couple. My poison is my palace, my losses are rich losses, my pain easy pain, my heavy days are holy and happy days. I may tell a new tale of Christ to my friends.”
“His cross is the sweetest burden that ever I bare: it is such a burden as wings are to a bird, or sails to a ship, to carry me forward to my harbour.”
“When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines.”
“As we look back to our pains and sufferings, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night’s welcome home in heaven.”
“Our fair morning is at hand, the day star is near the rising, and we are not many miles from home; what does it matter if we are ill-treated in the smoky inns of this miserable life?”
I don’t know how much I’ll be called to suffer during the rest of my days, but I’m going to definitely stay close to Christ and keep guys like Rutherford around too. I look forward to meeting and befriending him in glory.