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Joel Beeke talks about some lessons he learned about suffering from the puritan Arthur Hildersham that he learned while enduring three rounds of the removal of basal cell skin cancer from his face yesterday:

Just as my murmuring began to pick up, I came to a remarkable section of the book about the afflictions that Hildersham had to endure in his life, and how he then wrote about eight helps for coping with affliction. Here they are in shorthand:

1. Think about affliction, expect it, and prepare for it before it comes.

2. Wean your heart from loving earthly things so that when losses and crosses come, you will be able to bow under them in sweet submission.

3. Acquaint yourself thoroughly with the Scriptures, for they prepare people for affliction, and teach us patience and comfort in affliction, like no other book can.

4. Labor to realize how sinful you really are, so that you will understand that what you are enduring is nothing compared to what you deserve.

5. Before the trial comes, make sure you get a true and living faith, and a comfortable assurance of your reconciliation with God through Christ, for faith in Christ and assurance of your soul’s well-being in Him will enable you to drink “the bitterest potion from His hand.”

6. Remember that you possess the hope of eternal glory if and when you die.

7. Before affliction comes, be careful “to lead a godly life, and to get a good conscience.”

8. Let prayer strengthen you in every trial.

Read the rest at Eight Helps for Coping with Affliction.