Lent with Bonhoeffer: Peace in Suffering

Sermon on the mount

Monday, March 5, 2018

The test of whether we have truly found the peace of God will be in how we face the sufferings which befall us. There are many Christians who bend their knees before the cross of Jesus Christ well enough, but who do nothing but resist and struggle against every affliction in their own lives. They believe that they love Christ’s cross, but they hate the cross in their own lives. In reality, therefore, they hate the cross of Jesus Christ as well; in reality, they are despisers of the cross, who for their part, seek to flee the cross by whatever means they can. Whoever regards suffering and trouble in their own life as something wholly hostile, wholly evil, can know by this that they have not yet found peace with God at all. Actually, they have only sought peace with the world, thinking perhaps that they could cope with themselves and all their questions with the cross of Jesus Christ; in other words, that they could find inner peace of mind. Thus, they needed the cross, but did not love it. They sought peace only for their own sake. When sufferings come, however, this peace quickly disappears. It was no peace with God because they hated the sufferings God sends…. Whoever loves the cross of Jesus Christ, whoever has found peace in him, they begin to love even the sufferings in their life, and in the end, they will be able to say with Scripture, “We also rejoice in our sufferings.”

-from A Testament to Freedom, pg. 291

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