“The Plain English of Half Our Complaints Is That We Don’t Like the Cross”

As to your complaints, you may diversify them as much as you please, but the apostle has said all that you mean in one short expression, “When I would do good, evil is present with me.” I presume you cannot expect to be better, or better off than he was. The most pleasant and profitable course we can take is to be thankful. Let us praise the Lord that we know our disease and know our physician; that He has undertaken our case, and will, consequently, perfect it. But let us pray for patience and submission to be willing to wait his time, and to take things in his way. The plain English of half our complaints is that we don’t like the cross. We would have victory without conflicts, and the crown without fighting for it. And while we lament many of the evils, we are apt to overlook or make light of the chief of all, which is the impatient workings of self, which would have everything its own way. We are, we must be, sinners while we remain here; but if we are sinners believing in the name of Jesus we may rejoice and sing. We must fight, we may be wounded, but we cannot be overcome. We may complain to the Lord; but when we write or speak to our fellow Christians, we should encourage each other and say, Let us love, and sing, and wonder.

Letters of Newton, pp. 332-333.

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