Introduction

Many who become Christians believe many of their challenge will forever fade into the past. The truth is, however, that trials—even the suffering ones—are essential ingredients in God's work of transformation. The following quotes attest to our need to choose the suffering part of religion in following Jesus.—Dan

Keeping Looking Past The Clouds To The Sunshine!

Psalms 27:14 "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."

Psalms 37:7 "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him:"

"We need not expect all sunshine in this world. Clouds and storms will cluster about us, and we must be prepared to keep our eyes directed where we saw the light last. Its rays may be hidden but they still live, still shine beyond the cloud. It is our work to wait, to watch, to pray and [to] believe. We shall prize the light of the sun more highly after the clouds disappear. We shall see the salvation of God if we trust in God in the darkness as well as in the light. We must educate our souls to believe and not hesitate to bear our weight upon the promises of God. We are not safe unless we are continually growing in grace and the knowledge of the truth. Unless we abound in the love of God more and more, we lose what we have already attained. The moment we become stationary we are losing the love of God out of our hearts." {Lt23-1870.3}

Our Father Measures Every Trial

Deuteronomy 33:25 (NKJV) 25 "As your days, so shall your strength be."

"When the Christian is looking forward to duties and severe trials that he anticipates are to be brought upon him, because of his Christian profession of faith, it is human nature to contemplate the consequences, and shrink from the prospects, and this will be decidedly so as we near the close of this earth’s history. We may be encouraged by the truthfulness of God’s word that Christ never failed His children as their safe Leader in the hour of their trial; for we have the truthful record of those who have been under the oppressive powers of Satan, that His grace is according to their day. God is faithful who will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able. – {1888 490.4}  Our heavenly Father measures and weighs every trial before he permits it to come upon the believer. He considers the circumstances and the strength of the one who is to stand under the proving and test of God, and He never permits the temptations to be greater than the capacity of resistance. If the soul is overborne, the person overpowered, this can never be charged to God, as failing to give strength in grace, but the one tempted was not vigilant and prayerful and did not appropriate by faith the provisions God had abundantly in store for him. Christ never failed a believer in his hour of combat. The believer must claim the promise and meet the foe in the name of the Lord, and he will not know anything like failure." – {1888 491.1}

Loftiest Heights Of Faith Are Only Reached Through Darkness And Cloud

Ps. 77:19 "Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters,"
"Frequently the very best evidence that we can have that we are in the right way is that the least advance costs us effort and that darkness shrouds our pathway. It has been my experience that the loftiest heights of faith we can only reach through darkness and clouds...." – {TDG 212.2}

God Strikes Deep With His Pruning Knife

James 1:2-4 "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

"How few are aware that they have darling idols, that they have cherished sins! God sees these sins to which you may be blinded, and He works with His pruning knife to strike deep and separate these cherished sins from you. You all want to choose for yourselves the process of purification. How hard it is for you to submit to the crucifixion of self; but when the work is all submitted to God, to Him who knows our weakness and our sinfulness, He takes the very best way to bring about the desired results. It was through constant conflict and simple faith that Enoch walked with God. You may all do the same. You may be thoroughly converted and transformed, and be indeed children of God, enjoying not only the knowledge of His will, but, by your example, leading others in the same path of humble obedience and consecration. Real godliness is diffusive and communicative. The psalmist says: “I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy loving-kindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.” Wherever the love of God is, there is always a desire to express it."  {3T 543.1}

Afflictions come To Purify Us From All Evil

"Many know very little of God’s dealings with His people, but the most hopeless part of their experience is that they do not try to understand His dealings in these precious hours of probation. It is their privilege to know that His afflictions come for the object of purifying them from all evil. The Lord permits trials to come in order that we may look to Him as the source of our strength, and be cleansed from earthliness, from selfishness, from harshness, from sharp un-Christlike traits of character. He suffers the deep waters of affliction to go over our souls, in order that we may know Him and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, in order that we may have deep heart-longings to be cleansed from defilement and to come forth from the trial purer, holier, and happier. We enter the furnace of trial with our souls darkened with selfishness, and, if patient under the crucial test, we shall come forth reflecting the divine character. The Lord is able to deliver the godly out of temptation. {Ms38-1895.15}   When trials come, we are not to fret and complain, not to rebel, not to worry ourselves out of the arms of Christ, but humble the soul before God. Cry unto Him that He may give rest and peace. We should bear the yoke of Christ in time of trouble, and instead of allowing ourselves to be repulsed, we should hear the voice that invites us, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] {Ms38-1895.16}

Trials Mean Benefit

"We will have to learn that trials mean benefit, and not be discouraged under them. The heart must be disciplined, faith must be cultivated, the soul’s endurance must be tested. The simplicity of faith and perfect confidence in God needs to be encouraged in our hearts. You must be constantly looking and talking on the bright side, and while the work of self-discipline must be carried on by every individual Christian, it must be in such a manner as to exalt and ennoble, and not to contract the mind and center it upon little things. Your thoughts should be the outgrowth of holy principles. Do not center your minds on objectionable things, and make a brother an offender for a word. Do not judge him by your own finite measurement. Let the voice of simple, trustful, earnest prayer be heard in your dwellings. When our sisters visit one another, let them not speak words of criticism of their brethren. Let your minds dwell upon the attributes of God, and tell of your experiences in the love of Jesus. The fullness of that love will soothe the heart and cause us to forget disagreeable occurrences." { 1888 1088.2 } 

Accept The Suffering Part Of Religion

"If we would be partakers with Christ of his glory, we must also be willing to share with him in his humiliation. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” This must be the experience of every true child of God. “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” { 1888 267.5 } We should not murmur if we are called upon to share the suffering part of religion. There are many who do not feel averse to suffering, but they do not exercise simple, living faith. They say they do not know what it means to take God at his word. They have a religion of outward forms and observances. It is painful to see the unbelief that exists in the hearts of many of God’s professed followers. We have the most precious truths ever committed to mortals, and the faith of those who have received these truths should correspond to their greatness and value. There are many who seem to feel that they have a great work to do themselves before they can come to Christ for his salvation. They seem to think that Jesus will come in at the very last of their struggle, and give them help by putting the finishing touch to their life-work. It seems difficult for them to understand that Christ is a complete Saviour, and able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him. They lose sight of the fact that Christ himself is “the way, the truth, and the life.” When we individually rest upon Christ, with full assurance of faith, trusting alone to the efficacy of his blood to cleanse from all sin, we shall have peace in believing that what God has promised he is able to perform. As Christ represented the Father, so we are to represent Christ to the world. We cannot transfer our obligation to others. God desires to make known to you what is the richness of his glory, that you may preach the mystery of salvation to those around you,—Christ in you the hope of glory." { 1888 267.6 }

Bear The Suffering Part Of Religion As Well As Its Joys

"God wants us to withdraw from association with those who would lead us to withdraw from Him. He wants His people to lay hold with a strong determination to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. He wants them to make a covenant with God by sacrifice, to consecrate themselves to God to bear the suffering part of religion as well as to share its joys. If they cannot do this, they cannot enter the gates of the city of God and have right to the tree of life. { 2SAT 319.1 } Let us ever remember that eternal life has been secured for us at the cost of God’s only begotten Son. Considering this, should we not study to know what sacrifices we can make for His cause, what part we can act in advancing the glory of God for the great hereafter? Humanity can grasp the divinity of Christ. This is for us if we will lay hold of it by an intelligent faith. Let us learn what it means to deny self as Christ denied self. He laid aside all that He had with the Father, and clothing His divinity with humanity came to earth that He might teach men and women how they might overcome. We are living in a time of test. Shall we not decide to stand on the side of Christ in this matter?" { 2SAT 319.2 }

Crave The Suffering Part!

"Those who are in the habit of indulging in passion and of being impatient will have to overcome it. They will, and must, be perfectly subdued by grace or they can never enter heaven. Jesus is the example that is set before us. He endured all the slight and indignity that could be heaped upon Him, yet He opened not His mouth. He that could have had a legion of angels to assist Him had He asked His Father, was the meek Lamb and was spit upon, crowned with the crown of thorns, and stretched on Calvary’s cross, there to die an ignominious death for our sins. Oh, it behooved Christ to suffer all this to make a way of escape for lost man! He was the innocent Sufferer, and shall we dare to complain of any sacrifice we have made or can make? Shall we murmur, who shall suffer something for our own sins? Oh, no! Let us crave the suffering part." { 21MR 366.1 } 

The Way To Heaven Is A Cross-Bearing Way

"We do not expect rest here, No, no. The way to heaven is a cross-bearing way; the road is straight and narrow, but we will go forward with cheerfulness knowing that the King of glory once trod this way before us. We will not complain of the roughness of the way, but will be meek followers of Jesus, treading in His footsteps.... { 8MR 340.1 } We will not have a murmuring thought because we have trials. God’s dear children always had them, and every trial well endured here will only make us rich in glory. I crave the suffering part. I would not go to heaven without suffering if I could, and see Jesus who suffered so much for us to purchase for us so rich an inheritance; and to see the martyrs who laid down their lives for the truth, and the sake of Jesus. No, no. Let me be perfected through sufferings. I long to be a partaker with Christ of His sufferings, for if I am, I know I shall be partaker with Him of His glory."—Letter 9, 1851, p. 1. (Brother and Sister Dodge, December 21, 1851.) { 8MR 340.2 }

We Must Not Shun The Cross

"God will test and prove his people. One sacred truth after another will be brought to bear upon their hearts, close and cutting, until their faith will be purified and tried like gold, until all their dross will be purged away, and Jesus will present them unto his Father without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. We must overcome through trials and sufferings, as Jesus overcame. We must not shun the cross or the suffering part of religion. The language of the heart should be, Let me know the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. Let me suffer with him that I may reign with him." { RH September 16, 1862, par. 9 }

Trials Are Sometimes Necessary

These thoughts regard Elijah's experience.

The second year of famine passed, and still the pitiless heavens gave no sign of rain. Drought and famine continued their devastation throughout the kingdom. Fathers and mothers, powerless to relieve the sufferings of their children, were forced to see them die. Yet still apostate Israel refused to humble their hearts before God and continued to murmur against the man by whose word these terrible judgments had been brought upon them. They seemed unable to discern in their suffering and distress a call to repentance, a divine interposition to save them from taking the fatal step beyond the boundary of Heaven’s forgiveness. {PK 127.1} The apostasy of Israel was an evil more dreadful than all the multiplied horrors of famine. God was seeking to free the people from their delusion and lead them to understand their accountability to the One to whom they owed their life and all things. He was trying to help them to recover their lost faith, and He must needs bring upon them great affliction. {PK 127.2} “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” “Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 18:23, 31, 32; 33:11. {PK 127.3} God had sent messengers to Israel, with appeals to return to their allegiance. Had they heeded these appeals, had they turned from Baal to the living God, Elijah’s message of judgment would never have been given. But the warnings that might have been a savor of life unto life had proved to them a savor of death unto death. Their pride had been wounded, their anger had been aroused against the messengers, and now they regarded with intense hatred the prophet Elijah. If only he should fall into their hands, gladly they would deliver him to Jezebel—as if by silencing his voice they could stay the fulfillment of his words! In the face of calamity they continued to stand firm in their idolatry. Thus they were adding to the guilt that had brought the judgments of Heaven upon the land. {PK 127.4} For stricken Israel there was but one remedy—a turning away from the sins that had brought upon them the chastening hand of the Almighty, and a turning to the Lord with full purpose of heart. To them had been given the assurance, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; if My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14. It was to bring to pass this blessed result that God continued to withhold from them the dew and the rain until a decided reformation should take place. {PK 128.1}

Unless otherwise stated, quotations come from the writings of Mrs. E. G. White.