Voetius on Comfort for the Afflicted

Voetius on Comfort for the Afflicted November 1, 2019

What should we do when we feel that God has abandoned us? How do we comfort those who are struggling with the trial of assurance? This advice comes from the Dutch writer Gisbertus Voetius:

“The nucleus and complete summary of the arguments form which one must proceed when facing the questions, excuses, inferences, and mistaken suspicions of abandoned and spiritually oppressed persons is:

First of all, that this abandonment is a kind of cross and visitation with which the Lord God afflicts his children and only them, as experience and [Scripture show]…
The second argument is that our Savior himself preceded us in this experience…
The third argument is that the reality of faith does not consist in the abundance and feelings of consolation. There are many things we possess although we do not feel them, as, for example, when a person has lost consciousness….
The fourth argument is that God is the author of the cross and that he will provide for us in it and give us a way out. For abandoning us, he by no means abandons us, and although our sins lead us downward, God’s mercy lifts us upward. Because he does not forsake us in order that we be forsaken, he seems for the moment to have abandoned us, because he does not want us to be abandoned….” (Spiritual Desertion, 49-50)
Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

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