Treat Your Trials Right, Seeking Comfort In God

By Matt Kellso

In a previous post (Treat Your Trials Right), I discussed our need to treat as gifts the circumstances of life we would normally qualify as trials.  They are meant as a vessel of joy sent to us by God through His grace so that we can bring the Gospel to those around us.  Great!  Easy!  Now that I know this, life is suddenly and instantly a cake walk.  I wish someone had explained this so clearly years ago, life would have been different.

Umm…no.  Truth doesn’t make life instantly easy, applied truth honors God and that is our goal with this knowledge.  So how do we apply this truth?  What can we practically do with this newfound knowledge of trials?  We all know that it is way easier to say “count it all joy my friends when we encounter many trials” than it is to actually count it as joy.  I have proven that time and again in trials in my life.

John Piper’s answer to this question came in the form of list of “ways to not waste your cancer.”  I’m going to go through many of his points one at a time.  Before reading this section, I ask that you pause, pray and ask God to show you where you are doing Him injustices in the way you’re approaching trials.  Trials (as with all interactions) are a time to point every conversation and interaction to Christ.  Let’s learn how to do that with every moment through this series.

Seek comfort from God rather than your odds.

When we lost our second baby, I was looking at odds everywhere.  When Jenna was pregnant with the 3rd one I don’t think either of us expected a live birth.  We put a lot of stock in the odds and they weren’t very good.  Conversations took us there.  Hope lied in the odds (or a lack of hope).  In the 4th pregnancy, I was finally excited (wrong word…maybe, not completely pessimistic is a better one), because we had a plan that greatly increased the odds of a live birth.

How pathetic of me to not immediately use these trials as a path to the Gospel.  I knew that God opens and closes the womb.  That He was the one to provide the doctors with a knowledge of MTHFR (what ended up being the problem).  I knew that He wanted to be glorified through our loses and I should have been excited about that.  To tell believers and non-believers that I came in contact with anything different showed them that I care more about other’s experiences than I do about using trials as a means of glorifying the Creator of all things.  SHAME ON ME!!!

So, how do we seek comfort from God?  I’ve learned a lot in the 7 years following that period of our life.  These days, I do three things to help.  But at the end of the day, we just have to remember that He is who He says He is.

  1. I read about His attributes.  This comes in a few forms.  My favorite is Pink’s Attributes of God book.
  2. I pray using others’ prayers as a guide.  There is nothing like the heart of someone that has suffered and keeps a good attitude to remind me of where I need to be.  I personally love the old Puritan book of prayers Valley of Vision, which I have in:
  3. Finally, I remind myself the comfort of the cross.  I preach the gospel to myself regularly.  There is nothing like knowing that I was dead, that this world could’ve been the best I would see of His grace and that without the cross, I have nothing to hope for to remind me that life is pretty good, even in trial.
  4. Last (I’ll learn to count later), I look for opportunities to magnify God to others.  Reminding others of Him helps me keep my focus off of myself and my troubles.

Let’s all shepherd our hearts towards the Gospel in ways that keep a focus on the eternal and off the temporal.

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