John 16:33; Acts 14:22
In the world ye shall have tribulation.
We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): Every Christian may settle it as a truth in his own mind, that his whole life will be a life of conflict.
THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): If, because you are Christians, you promise yourselves a long lease of temporal happiness, free from troubles and afflictions, it is as if a soldier going to the wars should promise himself and continual truce with the enemy; or as a mariner committing himself to the sea for a long voyage, should promise himself nothing but fair and calm weather, without waves and storms; so irrational it is for a Christian to promise himself rest here upon earth.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Whilst I continue on this side of eternity, I never expect to be free from trials, only to change them.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Troubles come, and then a respite is granted, and then new troubles follow on the heels of the old ones.
HENRY SMITH (1560-1591): Since we are not in paradise, but in the wilderness, we must look for one trouble after another. As a bear came to David after a lion, and a giant after a bear, and a king after a giant, and Philistines after a king, so, when believers have fought with poverty, they shall fight with envy; when they have fought with envy, they shall fight with infamy; when they have fought with infamy, they shall fight with sickness; they shall be like a labourer who is never out of work.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD: Every new scene brings its new temptations.
BROWNLOW NORTH: At one time his faith will be tried. No bread, no water: I shall starve in the wilderness. At another, under the influence of fightings within and fears without, he will be tempted to cry, “All these things are against me.” And then the bread is given, and the water is made sure; the fighting ceases, and the fears with the fighting; so that the poor soldier of Jesus having nothing more to desire, sits down contented with the thought, “I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Then comes Amalek, and fights with Israel. Amalek!―the flesh.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Expect trouble in the flesh―something or other happens every day that grieves us, something in our relations, something in our callings, events concerning ourselves, our families, or friends, that are matters of sorrow: perhaps we have every day some bodily pain or sickness; or, some cross and disappointment in our affairs.
JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): Many a sweet comfort is cut off, many a hopeful project dashed by the hand of providence; and what think you is the meaning of those blasting, disappointing providences? Surely this is their design and errand, to disturb your false rest in the bosom of the creature; to pluck away those pillows your were laying your heads upon, that thereby you might be reduced unto God, and recover your lost communion with Him; and say, with David, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul.” Sometimes we are setting ourselves to rest in an estate, in a child, or the like: at this time it is usual for God to say, “go, losses, smite and blast such a man’s estate; go, death, and take away the desire of his eyes with a stroke, that My child may find rest no where but in Me.”
JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): God has appointed this whole life to be all as a race or a battle; the state of rest, wherein we shall be so out of danger as to have no need of watching and fighting, is for another world.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): If contentment were here, heaven were not heaven.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they shall be disappointed; none of their predecessors have escaped them.
A. W. PINK: Many are the afflictions of the righteous, Psalm 34:19―some internal, others external; some from friends, others from foes; some more directly at the hand of God, others more remotely by the instrumentality of the devil…Does not every real Christian know something of this in his own experience?
C. H. SPURGEON: My own experience is a daily struggle with the evil within.
SAMUEL MARSDEN (1766-1838): My own life has been checkered with various scenes. I have seen much of the kind providence of God in times of danger and trouble. Had I known the warfare I should have had to maintain in the beginning of the Christian life, I should have chosen strangling and death rather than enter upon it. However, one contest over and another comes; bye and bye they will all have an end.
A. W. PINK: At the outset of the Christian life we are bidden to first sit down and “count the cost,” Luke 14:28, which means that we are required to contemplate those sufferings which the following of Christ is likely to involve, and it is well that we should frequently remind ourselves that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): We naturally shrink from pain. Many would like to go round; no, we must go through. Many would be willing to have a little; but no, we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom.
BROWNLOW NORTH: There is apt to be an impatience under every trial, and a feeling that if only this one could be surmounted, then all would be easy afterwards. But God would teach us that this is not our rest, and if we ever think we have attained rest here, as surely as we are God’s people, so surely will God disappoint us.
JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): A Christian man is seldom long at ease,
When one trouble’s gone, another doth him seize.
MATTHEW HENRY: Now in these [troubles] we must wait upon God. Christ requires it of all His disciples, that they take up their cross daily, Matt. 16:24. We must not wilfully pluck the cross down upon us, but must take it up when God lays it in our way, and not go a step out of the way of duty either to it, or to miss it. It is not enough to bear the cross, but we must take it up, we must accommodate ourselves to it, and acquiesce in the will of God in it. Not, “this is an evil, and I must bear it, because I cannot help it,”―but “this is an evil, and I will bear it, because it is the will of God.”
ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE: O dear friends, make up your minds to carry the cross daily. Fore-warned is to be fore-armed. All God’s children go through these tribulations.
WILLIAM TIPTAFT (1803-1864): You will have your trials and crosses before you will have your crown, and they will not come in the way most suited to your natural wishes. A cross is to be a cross. You will have trials with your chapel, trials with your brethren, and trials with the world; but that monster self will be your worst trial, for he will so often plead your friend. Nevertheless, as the sufferings abound, so also the consolations; and as thy day is, so thy strength shall be.