“The view of Jesus as a man of sorrows shows us that seriousness, sorrow, even sadness, is suitable to our condition as fallen and sinful beings. In the experience of life we find that in all genuine happiness there is an element of sorrow. Sorrow for the suffering of others, sorrow for the sins of others, most of all for our own. Is that a preventive of peace?
“Is there not in the happiest a vein of sadness, and are they not happier for it? Does it not make their happiness truer, safer, more Christ-like?
“He who is all smiles and jests is not a happy man, because his whole happiness rests upon a falsehood. He is trying to represent the world to himself, as what it is not, as what a sinful world can never be. And he is trying to represent his own state to himself as what it is not; for he who is fighting the battle of life, pressing his way through temptations, and conflicts, and sins, into the kingdom of God, cannot always be merry. Yes, the path that leads into Paradise is not one leading only through vales of beauty, and sunshine, and song.
“Must we be carried to the skies,
On flow’ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?”
“For all men sorrow; for most men sadness, is the expression of the truth. As Christ, the Man of Sorrows, we must all, more or less, be the children of sorrow…
“You must not wait for visible or audible tokens of His presence. He sees you, knows all your trouble, and is touched with sympathy. He says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” You believe in God. Then that loss was not accidental. You may gather jewels for your crown from the wreck and rubbish of your earthly fortune. Then that bodily infirmity and sickness were not chance. No, this is the touch of decay on the earthly tabernacle to fashion and beautify the spiritual man for unfailing health and vigor and immortal youth and beauty. These troubles of outward estate or condition, or even mental cares and anxieties, are, when sanctified, purifying and saving.
From Sermons. By Theophilus Stork. Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society. 1876