Your severest sufferings
(John MacDuff, "The Mind of Jesus" 1870)
"Yet I want Your will to be done — not Mine!" Luke 22:42
Where was there ever resignation like this? The life of Jesus was one long martyrdom. From Bethlehem's manger to Calvary's cross, there was scarcely one break in the clouds; these gathered more darkly and ominously around Him — until they burst over His devoted head as He uttered His expiring cry! Yet throughout this pilgrimage of sorrow — no murmuring accent escaped His lips. The most suffering of all suffering lives — was one of uncomplaining submission.
"Yet I want Your will to be done — not Mine!" was the motto of this wondrous Being! When He came into the world He thus announced His advent, "Lo, I come, I delight to do Your will, O my God!" When He left it, we listen to the same prayer of blended agony and acquiescence, "O My Father, if it is possible — let this cup pass from Me! Yet I want Your will to be done — not Mine!"
Ah reader, what are your trials — compared to His! What are the ripples in your tide of woe — compared to the waves and billows which swept over Him! If He, the spotless Lamb of God, "murmured not," how can you murmur? His were the sufferings of a bosom never once darkened with the passing shadow of guilt or sin. Your severest sufferings are deserved — yes, infinitely less than you deserve! Are you tempted to indulge in hard suspicions, as to God's faithfulness and love, in appointing some peculiar trial? Ask yourself — Would Jesus have complained? Should I seek to pry into "the deep things of God," when He, in the spirit of a weaned child, was satisfied with the solution, "Even so, Father — for so it seems good in Your sight!"
"Even so, Father!" Afflicted one! "tossed with tempest, and not comforted," take that word on which Your adorable Redeemer pillowed His suffering head, "Father!" — and make it, as He did, the secret of your resignation. "My Father!" my covenant God! the God who spared not Jesus! It may well hush my every repining word.
The sick child will take the bitterest medicine from a father's hand. "This cup which You, O God, give me to drink — shall I not drink it? Be it mine to lie passive in the arms of Your chastening love, exulting in the assurance that all Your appointments, though sovereign, are never arbitrary — but that there is a gracious 'need be' in them all."
Drinking deep of His sweet spirit of submission, you will be able thus to meet, yes, even to welcome, your sorest cross, saying, "Yes, Lord, all is well — just because it is Your blessed will. Take me, use me, chasten me — as seems good in Your sight. My will is resolved into Yours. This trial is dark; I cannot see the 'why and the wherefore' of it — yet I want Your will to be done — not mine! My gourd is withered; I cannot see the reason of so speedy a dissolution of my beloved earthly shelter; my sense and sight ask in vain why these leaves of earthly refreshment have been doomed so soon to droop in sadness and sorrow. But it is enough. 'The Lord prepared the worm!' I want Your will to be done — not mine!"
Oh, how does the stricken soul honor God by thus being silent in the midst of dark and perplexing dealings, recognizing in these, part of the needed discipline and training — for a sorrowless, sinless, deathless world; regarding every trial as a link in the chain — which draws it to heaven, where the whitest robes will be found to be those here baptized with suffering, and bathed in tears!