We have a daily devotional reading from a wonderful collection of Puritan essays called Voices From the Past. I’ve got an arsenal of great quotes from these guys, and I often think of quoting them here for you all. So here’s one from today’s reading from Thomas Case. It’s a good sample of the Puritan view of affliction.
“In affliction God reveals the unknown corruptions in the hearts of his people: what pride, impatience, unbelief, idolatry, distrust of God,murmuring, and unthankfulness. Sin lies very close and deep and is not easily discerned until the fire of affliction comes. The furnace discovers the dross. In the furnace we see more corruption than was ever suspected. What self-love is there boiling and fretting within me, what pride, distrust in God, creature-confidence, discontent, murmuring, rising against the holy and righteous dispensations of God! Woe is me, what a heart I have!….
In affliction, he empties us of ourselves to make us fly to Jesus Christ for righteousness and strength. He lets us see what is crooked that we may straighten it; what is weak that we may strengthen it; what is lacking that we may supply it; and what is lame that it may not be turned out of the way.
Affliction also teaches us to pray. They that have never prayed before, will pray in affliction. They will pray more frequently and fervently…In our affliction, God keeps us upon our knees. Christ himself in agony prayed more intensively. So with David. He gathered up all his strength to pray, and like a true son of Jacob, wrestled with God, and would not let him go until he got the blessing.”