I used Ray Comfort's Tract Printer to "print" about fifty 180 Movie tickets for different people while at the mall the other day. It's such a treat to see people's reactions, but it's especially a treat when you run into someone who has actually seen 180 Movie and loves Ray Comfort. One such lady was in a wheel chair and was downcast because of it. While I haven't been in her exact situation, I have battled some health issues recently, so I quoted a verse to her that has ministered to me, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all." (Psalm 34:19). "Oh! Thank you", she said.
Jonathan Edwards' Resolution #67 says, "Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them."
But don't stop there. Then use the good you've gained to help others in their afflictions. John MacArthur has a great and short analogy on this:
"If I were to climb a high mountain, a dangerous climbing expedition alone, which is a very remote possibility, folks. But should it occur, there is a little adventure in me, and I should decide to climb this mountain and I should get equipped with all the stuff you need to climb this precarious precipice, of what significance would it be for a helicopter to fly across the peak of that thing and drop some guy on the top and have that guy up there looking down and shouting, "I'm up here, this is where you want to come. If you can just get up here, this is the top." And I'm looking up and I'm down here and he's up there. The problem is, he got up there by a helicopter and he doesn't know the way up either. He hasn't gone that route. He is not of much help to me. In fact, the more he hollers at me on the way up, the more frustrating it will become.
What I would rather have is some guy ahead of me who is climbing the path and says, "Follow me, I know the way up."
What I need is somebody who models the way up, who shows me the process. How do I deal with my fallen flesh? How do I deal with the struggles of life?
How do I deal with disappointment? How do I deal with trials?
How do I deal with pride? How do I deal with temptation? How do I deal with sin? Somebody's got to show me that path because it's only in the overcoming of my sinfulness that I move toward being like Christ, so I have to follow somebody who is battling to overcome sin. If I'm going to climb this precipice, I want somebody who knows the way with a rope around his waist hooked to mine, who pulls me up the right way.
That's Paul. Paul put himself in that position numerous times. And he is saying I'm not the perfect model, that's Christ. I'm just somebody you can follow on the path of victory." (Phil 3:12-14)
MacArthur says it so perfectly in this mountain analogy; and there are people at this very moment that are climbing the same mountain that we have already climbed.