In our most painful moments, it's better to find the simple foundation stones--like the five smooth stones David quickly grabbed from the river bed in his moment of need--the ones easy to grasp, and not try to build complex cathedrals of our emotions and intentions and self-contained hopes, especially when our thought life is burdened and unwieldy.
For this, it's good to look at the Cross--i.e. the instrument of rescue in which God Himself literally died and suffered the pangs of hell so that we would not (like the judge volunteering to serve the prisoner's sentence in jail after he is condemned)--and it's good to look at God's act of grace from as many angles as possible.
So today I bring nothing more than a collection of quotes about the Cross. I'll begin with a rambling thought of my own that came to me while thinking about the verse, "He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world." It struck me that the Cross could be summed up this way, as if God were saying these words to us through Christ's death and resurrection:
"Stop fearing death. Stop fearing life. I have conquered both. And I am with you in both to the very end--even beyond the very end."
Here are some other quotes--"angles"--on the Cross:
“And now brothers, I will ask you a terrible question, and God knows I ask it also of myself. Is the truth beyond all truths, beyond the stars, just this: that to live without him is the real death, that to die with him the only life?”
― Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat
“God has chosen to save the world through the cross, through the shameful and
powerless death of the crucified Messiah. If that shocking event is the
revelation of the deepest truth about the character of God, then our whole way
of seeing the world is turned upside down… all values are transformed… God
refuses to play games of power and prestige on human terms.”
― Richard B. Hays
“We sinned for no reason but an incomprehensible lack of love, and He saved us for no reason but an incomprehensible excess of love.” --Peter Kreeft, Jesus-Shock
“He, the Life of all, our Lord and Saviour, did not arrange the manner of his own death lest He should seem to be afraid of some other kind. No. He accepted and bore upon the cross a death inflicted by others, and those other His special enemies, a death which to them was supremely terrible and by no means to be faced; and He did this in order that, by destroying even this death, He might Himself be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be recognised as finally annulled. A marvellous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonour and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death's defeat.”
― Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation
“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.” --John R.W. Stott
“Even on the cross He did not hide Himself from sight; rather, He made all creation witness to the presence of its Maker.”