"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing" (Rom. xv. 13)
What can and should console us in adversities ?
A living and firm belief in these truths:
- That all events, adverse or prosperous, are ordered by God's wise Providence, and therefore that no evil can befall as except by his permission, who never allows us to suffer more than is for our greatest good.
- That God, with the solicitude of a father, will not allow even a hair to fall from our heads without his permission, so will he not suffer any evil to be done to us by devil or man.
- That if we call upon him in adversity, God is able and willing to help us whenever it ia expedient for our salvation. Thus, to encourage us, he says (Ps. xlix. 15), "And call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me"; and "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. viii. 31); and "can a woman forget her infant so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget yet will not I forget thee: behold I have graven thee in my hands" (Isaias xlix. 15).
- That it would be of no use for us to resist Divine Providence, for all who have done so have been filled with shame and ignominy. "Who hath resisted him" asks Job, "and hath had peace?" (Job ix. 4.) God leads him who willingly submits, but crushes him who refuses to obey. It is a frightful example which the Scriptures furnish us in Saul, whom despairing of help from God, took his own life.
- That our sufferings, when borne with patience and submission, lose their sharpness, and bring us merit and reward. For "that which at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us, above measure exceedingly, an eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. ix. 17).
- That Christ also entered into his glory through sufferings; that the Saints have all followed him in the way of the Cross, and that, by partaking of the sufferings of Christ, we become partakers also of his glory (1 Pet iv, 13). Why then should we complain of the sufferings sent to us from God, which beget in us a likeness to Christ, the man of sorrows, and to all the saints; which separate us from the things of the world, and create in us a desire for Heaven; which assist us to repent of our sins, give us peace and joy in God, and produce imperishable fruits for the harvest-day in Eternity?
Fortune and misfortune, life and death, riches and poverty come from God (Ecclus. xi. 14). If we willingly accept from the hand of God, what is good and agreeabIe, shall we not accept also what is adverse and trying ?
If we are ourselves the cause of our own sufferings, we should say, "Our Father in Heaven is punishing us for our sins" if not ourselves the cause, we must think that God is testing and strengthening our love and our obedience.
Almighty, Benign, and True God, who hast said "Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee"; behold, all-merciful Father, confiding in thy word, I have recourse to thee in my need. Give honor, therefore, to thy name, and deliver me, if it be according to thy will, and for my good, that all may acknowledge the Truth, that thou, O Lord, art a Helper in time of tribulation. Amen.