Yesterday afternoon, I was perusing my library and caught sight of a Puritan volume that I’ve not pulled off the shelf in a while. My bookmark in volume 1 of Brakel’s The Christian’s Reasonable Service was near the end of a chapter on the Trinity, so I finished reading there. While teaching on the Holy Spirit’s operations within the believer, Brakel cited six ways the Spirit sustains us with His comfort.
- He shows us that the cross we must bear is so light that it is not worthy of being downcast over. This becomes especially evident when He focuses our attention upon the future glory which will be our portion (Romans 8:18).
- He shows us the brevity of cross-bearing, as being but for a moment (2 Corinthians 4:17). That which occurred yesterday is no more, and what will be tomorrow we do not know. We merely have the present which passes by as rapidly as the progression of time. What is our life when compared to eternity?
- He shows us the advantages concealed in their affliction. He shows us how it humbles us, makes us submissive, weans us from the world, teaches us to depend on God and to trust in Him, and how we increase in holiness according to the apostle’s testimony (Hebrews 12:10-11).
- He shows us that our way is God’s way by which He leads all His children to heaven. He shows us that it is God’s sovereign will, which He exercises with pure wisdom and goodness, to deal with us in such a fashion. Along with this He gives us love for the will of God so that we agree with His will, causing us to pray, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt…Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:39, 42).
- He assures us of the love and grace of God towards us and that we have found grace in His eyes. Such testimony is sufficient to cause us to consider our cross to be but insignificant (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- He shows us that the ultimate outcome of our trial will be consistent with what we have experienced so frequently already. He shows us that our cross will neither be too heavy nor will we be required to bear it any longer than necessary. It will not overwhelm us, for He will be with us even when we must pass through water and fire. Then the rivers will neither overflow us nor the fire burn us.