Does Christ thus sympathize with us? Does the Lord know our weak frames and remember that we are dust? Then let us go forth in perfect sympathy with Christ in everything, that relates to His truth, His kingdom, His people…Embraced by such a love, and interested in such a sympathy, let us melt into the profoundest sensibility at the thought that it was for us Christ sighed and wept, bled and suffered; and, standing before that awful spectacle- the wonder and marvel of the universe- let us resolve that the sins which crucified Him once shall not crucify Him again- but that the death our Saviour died for sins, shall be our death unto sin, and that henceforth we will be Christ’s true disciples, Christ’s faithful followers.
You will learn, too, to sympathize with the suffering members of Christ’s body. Soothed by such a sympathy as His, your own will flow forth in its tenderness toward all who, through the weakness and infirmity of the flesh, are shrinking from or are drinking the cup of suffering. Catching the spirit, imbibing the gentleness and tenderness of Jesus, in imitation of Him, you will, by your compassion, prayers, and substance, seek to alleviate the pain, soothe the grief, and supply the need of those, the companions and representatives of your Lord, in whom are filled up the afflictions of Christ, which are behind. Recognize a suffering Christ in His suffering members, a persecuted Christ in His persecuted members, a poor Christ in His poor members, a despised Christ in His downtrodden members, an imprisoned Christ in His imprisoned members; a sick, a naked, a hungry Christ in those whom worldly adversity, penury, and need have smitten and laid low. “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”
Whatever may be the cup your heavenly Father prepares for you, keep firm hold of this truth, that He will never forsake you. “He forsakes not His saints.” Shrink not from the suffering that seems inevitable, the cup which may not pass your lips untouched- God will be with you. You are, perhaps, anticipating a fiery ordeal, a dread crisis of your case; the flesh shrinks from the knife, the heart dies within you at the thought of that hour of silent agony which approaches. Oh, have faith now in your heavenly Father. Do you think that He will leave you to drink that cup alone? To endure that pain alone? To pass through that hour alone? Oh, no! He will be with you. Christ will be with you; the Comforter will be with you, and, as “your day, so shall your strength be.” Has God ever yet been to you a wilderness? Has His promise ever failed? Has Jesus ever stood aloof from your sore, leaving your wound untouched, unsoothed, unhealed? Has not the Lord always been better than all your trembling anticipations, quelling your fears, reassuring your doubting mind, and hearing you gently and safely through the hour of suffering which you dreaded? Then trust Him now! Never, never will He forsake you! Let His will be done in you, and by you- and thus, both in doing and suffering, you may sweetly sing, “My Father chose the path I tread.”
An Excerpt from The Sympathy of Christ by Octavius Winslow