For Lord’s Day, September 8, 2013
The Scottish Puritan and Westminster Divine, Samuel Rutherford wrote: “I find it a sweet and rich thing to exchange my sorrows with Christ’s joys, my afflictions with that sweet peace I have with himself.”
There is a lovely exchange that you can have ongoing with Christ to have a sweet peace in this life. Of course, the foundation off this ongoing exchange is to have already made an eternal exchange.
So Jesus says in Revelation 3:18: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
He is reflecting toward Himself what was prophesied in Isaiah 55:1: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
I trust that by God’s grace, you have already made that exchange, because you understood this: … we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
Thus you have such peace when you remember Jesus made an exchange with you: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
So Paul (the Apostle) and Paul (our elder teaching in our Sabbath class) can say to you: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Samuel Rutherford knew a lot about suffering. He lost his first wife to death, and he buried all his many children (to say nothing of all his losses in ministry). Yet he knew how to get through: “I find it a sweet and rich thing to exchange my sorrows with Christ’s joys, my afflictions with that sweet peace I have with himself.”
May your faith be able to say the same thing through our experiences, beloved. May you give up your pain, be thankful to know the fellowship of His sufferings, remember what He has done for you, and find peace with Him there.