A long time ago I received a letter with a tract enclosed. I have forgotten the message of that leaflet, but its title “What Made You Cross?” has stayed with me. It is a good question.
If we are honest, I suspect most of us would admit that we are ashamed that trifles touch off our tempers and disturb our dispositions.
J. Hudson Taylor wrote: “It is not so much the greatness of our troubles, as the littleness of our spirit, which makes us complain.”
It doesn’t take a theologian to discover the characteristic joy of early Christians. Under the toughest of circumstances they were triumphant! Even in prison they sang praises to God.
The disturbing dimension to this comparison is the thought that most present-day Christians might really cave in if persecution came. If we are edgy in affluence, what might we do in oppression: “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12;5).
The need of dealing with this problem may be far more urgent than we realize. We do not know what the future holds. At any rate, there is sure to be great profit for hearts and homes if we stop exploding to gain our “rights,” and start yielding to the Holy Spirit in all things. It is only then that we will be able to “do all things without murmurings and disputings.” And others will know that our Lord controls “all things” in our lives.