–If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.— Matthew 16:24
It was never meant that God’s children live a life of ease. They have a cross to bear. That cross is not the sufferings common to all people, but the problems, pressure, and pain associated with doing the will of God –the disciple’s difficulties. Our cross is the price we pay for doing what is right. Those who follow Christ will, without a doubt,encounter trials as a result. So, instead of being surprised by our sufferings we should expect them. J. C. Ryle put it like this:
All the children of God have a cross to carry . They have trials, troubles, and afflictions to go through for the Gospel’s sake. They have . . .
trials from the world,
trials from the flesh,
trials from the devil.
They have trials from relations and friends–hard words, hard conduct, and hard judgment.
They have trials in the matter of character–slander, misrepresentation, mockery, suggestion of false motives–all these often rain thick upon them.
They have trials from their own hearts.
They have each generally their own thorn in the flesh, which is their worst foe.
This is the experience of the children of God. Some of them suffer more–and some less. Some of them suffer in one way–and some in another. God measures out their portions like a wise physician, and cannot err. But never, I believe, was there one child of God, who reached Heaven without a cross!