A Foot Upon the Thorn

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Rom. 8:16-17

We live in the midst of the fallout of the fall: sin has affected every area of creation and all aspects of our lives. Disappointment, pain, and trouble are significant ingredients of our daily lives. Ill-timed, unexpected tragedies can shape our Christian lives for the better or make our hearts hard through bitterness. The choice is ours: better or bitter.

If we want to be better, we do not play the victim, but recognize that our Lord is sovereignly operating through our circumstances to conform us into image and likeness of his Son. Myrrh and frankincense, suffering and glory, cross and resurrection go together. There is no growth in the Christian life without a willingness to walk in the way of the Cross.

Every one that gets to the throne must put his foot upon the thorn. The way to the crown is by the cross. We must taste the gall if we are to taste the glory. When justified by faith, God led them into tribulations also. When God brought Israel through the Red Sea, He led them into the wilderness; so, when God saves a soul, He tries it. He never gives faith without trying it. The way to Zion is through the Valley of Baca.

You must go through the wilderness of Jordan if you are to come to the Land of Promise. Some believers are much surprised when they are called to suffer. They thought they would do some great thing for God; but all that God permits them to do is to suffer. Go round everyone in glory; everyone has a different story, yet every one has a tale of suffering. One was persecuted in his family, by his friends and companions; another was visited by sore pains and humbling disease, neglected by the world; another was bereaved of children; another had all these afflictions.

Andrew A. Bonar and Robert M. McCheyne, Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray McCheyne, (Christian Classics Foundation, 1996., electronic ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1947), 216.

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