Reflecting on the Happy Outcome of Bearing Your Cross

"For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men." (Lamentations 3:31-33, ESV)[1]

 Another gem from Starck’s Prayer Book:
 
Every affliction becomes light when there is hope that there will be a change for the better soon.  A difficult journey becomes short when it is quickly accomplished.  Similarly, the afflicted should bear in mind that their misery will certainly have an end, maybe even in this life (my emphasis added).  It can happen with them just as God turned to their advantage David’s flight, Hezekiah’s sickness, Job’s distress, the widow’s tears, and the paralyzed man’s pains.  Most certainly, however, God will end the cross of the godly and turn it to their advantage at death, for then they shall obtain the crown, the white robe, and the joy of heaven, and He will wipe away tears from all eyes.

The afflicted should bear in mind, when they are saddened by affliction, that their soul is being edified by suffering, for by that means we are led to know the omnipotence, wisdom, love, and mercy of God.  By means of their suffering and their happy outcome, their confidence has been established and their faith strengthened.  And if the love of the world has been extinguished in them by the cross, so that they now become more godly, more devout, more Christlike, more humble, and more meek, they have certainly derived a huge benefit from their cross.  Thus the outcome of the cross remains a happy and blessed one, whether the cross is brought to an end her in time or hereafter in eternity (my emphasis added) .[2]

Borrowing from a Winston Churchill quote, country singer Rodney Atkins offers up this musical encouragement: “If you’re going through hell, keep on moving.”  The Lord God says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Both bits of advice have their place, but Scripture offers the greater encouragement.  Don’t give up!  But don’t trust in your own strength to get you through this trial.  Don’t forget to rest and trust in the Lord and His strength.  He will help you bear your cross.  He will use your cross to refine, strengthen, and sanctify you.  After all, He has already borne the biggest cross and overcome that one—the one on Calvary where He bore all sin, suffering, and death.  Let His victory over sin, death, and the devil be your victory, and your joy.  That is the hope that lasts to all eternity! 


[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[2] Starck’s Prayer Book: Revised Concordia Edition.  Saint Louis,; Concordia Publishing House, 2009; p.199

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