One of my dear friends shares her heart with us today about Sanctification in Affliction, from her own lessons the Lord has taught her in trials… -Jenny
“…daily expectations of renewed help…” ~ Richard Baxter, English Puritan church leader, poet, hymnodist, theologian, and controversialist 🌲☕️🕯️
I was sharing with my mom recently the wonder of waking to more faith and less unbelief. I saw a meme which quoted Calvin as saying that unbelief was the mother of every anxiety. He elsewhere (I read his Institutes for myself, haha) speaks of Christ’s own anxieties and ours in a very sympathetic manner, arguing for them, so this is not to shame anyone who experiences anxiety. I think it a proper human emotion.
The Psalms say, “What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” Fear is a sane response in a fallen world. For me, anxiety can be a sign of physical weakness, too, yet I must say that as a human I also expect unbelief to be in me, in dark corners, yet for its presence and power to be dying daily, because of Christ and His Spirit’s covenant with me. As light and love and liberty come more to me, I hope this will result in growing peace and fearlessness.
I believe this happens especially through facing fears.
If all we have are snuggles and no struggles, we don’t have any chance to develop.
I don’t think we realize how much unbelief we have until we simply wake to more belief. Suddenly, we sense more spiritual power, and yet we didn’t know how to get there or what it would feel like until it simply exposes itself. You see, that’s because it is not something got up within man, but rather it is brought down from God as a gift and answer to our prayers.
We have a new identity in Christ, and unbelief no longer characterizes us. Every day, the old man is dying more and the new man is being born. Every day, gently, there are fresh supplies of help and grace. Matthew Henry said recently that Christ had to die on the cross that He might be resurrected. Christ speaks of our taking up our own crosses also. I don’t mean those we or others would lay on us unjustly, crosses we do right at times to resist, but those Jesus calls us to carry.
Dear ones, I believe that is exactly why we have to suffer and are called to be patient through what we do receive from our Lord as our own portion of trials. It’s not meaningless. It’s for our resurrection. It’s not there to kill us, but to kill the remainder of unbelief. Somehow, as a person who is in bed almost all the time, experiencing pain and weakness, that idea provides comfort and succor to my soul. That thought provides courage and makes my heart brave. I hope it does yours also. 💜
Sarah Elizabeth Campbell was born while her parents were attending RTS, Jackson. She is beloved of Christ and a lifelong lover of the Reformed faith and Psalm-singing. A writer, painter, homeschooler, and coffee drinker, Mrs. Campbell lives with her husband, children, and a cat on a mountain in Tennessee. Her experience as a distressed gentlewoman with chronic illness for some years has enabled her to enjoy encouraging others with the spiritual cordials, comforts, and succour she has herself received.