Some heavy, painful, yet concealed cross?
(Octavius Winslow, "Evening Thoughts")
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.
You may be asking, "Why, if Jesus is 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 evils in you it may have checked;
what corruptions 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.