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Through Much Tribulation

By Thomas à Kempis 

    Jesus has now many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His cross.  He has many desirous of consolation, but few of tribulation.  He finds many companions of His table, but few of His abstinence.

    All desire to rejoice with Him, few are willing to endure anything for Him.  Many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread; but few to the drinking of the cup of His passion.  Many reverence His miracles, few follow the ignominy of His cross.  Many love Jesus so long as no adversities befall them.  Many praise and bless Him so long as they receive consolation from Him.

    …But they who love Jesus for His own sake, and not for some special comfort which they receive, bless Him in all tribulation and anguish of heart, as well as in the state of highest comfort.  Oh how powerful is the pure love of Jesus, which is mixed with no self-interest, nor self-love!

    Are not all those to be called mercenary, who are ever seeking consolations?  Do they not show themselves to be rather lovers of themselves than of Christ, who are always thinking of their own profit and advantage?  Where shall one be found who is willing to serve God for nothing?

    …Prepare yourself to bear many adversities and various kinds of troubles in this miserable life; for so it will be with you, wheresoever you are, and so surely you shall find it, wheresoever you hide yourself.  So it must be; nor is there any remedy nor means to escape from tribu­lation and sorrow, but only to endure them.

    Drink of the Lord’s cup with hearty affection if you desire to be His friend and to have part with Him.  As for comforts, leave them to God.  Let Him do whatever shall best please Him.

    But do set yourself to suffer tribulations, and account them the greatest comforts; for the sufferings of this present time, although you alone could suffer them all, cannot worthily deserve the glory which is to come.

    …When we have thoroughly read and searched all, let this be the final conclusion, “That through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

    – From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis.