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Help for Suffering Saints

John Flavel’s statement surprised me, not like someone slipping up behind me, but like a spotlight illuminating a brilliant truth.

These words were written by one of “the most noteworthy of the later Puritans,” John Flavel [1628-1691], an English clergyman. He obviously believed the Bible to be the practical and mighty defense against temptation that it is. He was said to be the “physician of souls.”3 His works are filled with short and interesting narratives, rich in simplicity and ingenious comparisons. Even today Flavel’s writings win our hearts by their warm, personal kindness.

Things that cause us to suffer are for the most part recognizable, whereas temptations easily escape our notice. Satan, the Arch Deceiver, masquerades himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He often catches us off guard by piggy-backing our sufferings with ensnaring temptations when we are already wounded. As Job grieved the sudden death of his children and loss of his property, Satan compounded his sufferings by using his “helpful” wife to tempt him. Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die! (Job 2:9)