The road of godliness through suffering runs narrow: complaints, despair, fear, faithlessness – sin of any kind lie close at hand. Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress must take a dangerously narrow path to survive the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
None know how to pass this Valley but the Lord, himself. Thus if we will pass safely we pass in the way marked by the Lord.
Edward Polhill in A Preparation for Suffering in an Evil Day writes that faith must take hold of the Lord and follow his pattern for the Christian to walk in holiness through suffering:
Faith looks to Christ as a pattern. He is not only a propitiation to be trusted in, but a pattern to be imitated by us. “He suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps,” (1 Pet. 2:21). Whom should we follow, but our Lord and Saviour? How can we spare our own blood, if we be washed in his? He drank up the bitter cup to the bottom, and shall we not take some drops of it? He bore the wrath of God for us, and shall we not bear the wrath of man for him? He learned obedience by the things which he suffered, and how much more should we poor creatures do so? He entered by suffering into glory; and why should we dream of another way thither? If we would be ready to suffer, let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame: let us consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest we be weary and faint in our minds, (Heb. 12:2, 3). The noble Alzearius, being asked how he could so patiently bear injuries, answered thus: I turn me to the injuries done to my Saviour.