Suffering Is Part of God’s Will

Suffering is the will of God. It is his chief instrument for fashioning His creatures according to His own plan. While by our work we ought to be seeking to make a bit of the world such as He would have it to be, by our suffering He is seeking to make such as He would have us to be. He blocks up our pathway by it on this side and on that, in order that we may be kept in the path which He has appointed. He prunes our desires and ambitions; He humbles and makes us meek and acquiescent. By our work we help to make a well-ordered world, but by our suffering He makes a sanctified man; and in His eyes this is by far the greater triumph.

James Stalker, The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1966), 153.

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Christ’s Sufferings Are a Rebuke

Christ’s sufferings are a rebuke to our softness and self-pleasing.  It is not, indeed, wrong to enjoy the comforts and the pleasures of life.  God sends these; and, if we receive them with gratitude, they may lift us nearer to Himself.  But we are too terrified to be parted from them and too afraid of pain and poverty.  Especially ought the sufferings of Christ to brace us up to endure whatever of pain or reproach we may have to encounter for His sake.  Many would like to be Christians, but are kept back from decision by demand of the laughter of profane companions or by the prospect of some worldly loss.  But we cannot look at the suffering Saviour without being ashamed of such cowardly fears.  If the crown of thorns no becomes Christ so well as to be the pride and the song of men and of angels, be assured that any twig from that crown which we may have to wear will not one day turn out to be our most dazzling ornament.

James Stalker, The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1966), 64.

This the Power of the Cross

The power that kept [Christ] on the cross was a far mightier one than would have been necessary to leave it.  It was not by the nails through His hands and feet that He was held, nor by the ropes with which His arms were bound, nor by the soldiers watching Him; no, but by invisible hands — by the cords of redeeming love and by the constraint of a divine design.

James Stalker, The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1966), 108-109.