The Cup Prepared
James Smith, 1842
"The cup which my Father has given me — shall I not drink it?" John 18:2
So spoke Jesus when enduring the dreadful sufferings and tremendous agonies, which He passed through for our salvation. His sufferings were without a parallel — they were so exceedingly great, that His flesh trembled for fear; His spirit failed; His strength was dried up like a potsherd; His tongue cleaved to His jaws; and He was brought into the dust of death.
Your sufferings, Christian, are but light compared with his. All your afflictions are compared to a cup — not a cup prepared and forced upon you by an enemy; but by a wise, holy, tender, compassionate Father — not a cup of poison — but of valuable and useful medicine. There is no curse in any of your trials. The taste may be bitter, the cup may seem large, nature may heave against the potion — but . . .
your Father prepared it,
He presents it,
He is with you while you taste it, and
intends to produce your benefit by it! It is . . .
a bitter blessing;
a painful mercy;
an unpleasant good.
Reason may be confounded, and your rebellious heart may object; but faith will say, "The cup which my heavenly Father has given me — shall I not drink it?"
There is a cup for every saint; each must have his own cup — and each must drink it. Joseph had his, Job had his, Jeremiah had his — and you have yours. Every son has his own cup; but the only-begotten Son had the largest, and the most dreadful cup. What agonies must have wrung His heart, when He uttered that loud and exceeding bitter cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Would you be foolishly indulged to your injury? Is it not much better that the Father chasten His son while there is hope? Oh say, "It is the Lord, let Him do what seems Him good unto Him!"
Join with holy David, when driven from his city, his palace, his throne, his comforts — by his rebellious and unnatural son Absalom. The king said to Zadok, "If I find favor in the LORD's eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. But if he says, 'I am not pleased with you,' then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good unto him."
Submit yourself therefore unto God, for this affliction comes forth from the Lord Almighty, who is excellent in counsel, and wonderful in working! The submissive patient always suffers much less than the restless, obstinate, and self-willed one does. Can you not trust your Father's wisdom, foresight, and love? Do you think that He who spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for your salvation — that He will deny any real good, or inflict any unnecessary pain? He is ever mindful of His covenant, faithful to His word, and acting in character with the profession He has made. Your trial may seem long — but it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
Since the Lord has given me reason
To expect a place above,
In affliction's sharpest season,
Let me own that God is love;
Let me own that all He does,
From a Father's kindness flows.
Shall I murmur at His dealings?
Shall I not His kindness trust?
Since He knows my frame and feelings,
And remembers I am dust.
Shall I not receive the rod,
And confess the hand of God!