While reading an old sermon that Thomas Brooks preached to the House of Commons in 1648, I was struck by this passage below describing how God uses afflictions/troubles/trials in order to save us from greater afflictions/troubles/trials. I hope it blesses you as it did me:
“Let upright hearts consider this, that God knows how to deliver from troubles by troubles; he knows how to deliver from afflictions by afflictions; and God will by lesser afflictions which befall his people, deliver them from greater afflictions; and by those troubles which befall them, he will deliver them from greater troubles. I remember a saying of Anaxagoras, who seeing great possessions which he had lost, speaks thus, “Had not those things perished,” says he, “I could not have been safe.” God will so order all the afflictions and troubles which befall you in the ways of the Lord, that your soul shall say, “Oh, had I not met with this affliction—I would have been undone; had I not been undone—I would have been undone; had not these troubles and sorrows and discouragements befallen me—it had been worse with me. God will deliver his people, mark it, from spiritual afflictions and spiritual judgments, by the temporal afflictions and troubles which befall them. By those afflictions that you meet with in the ways of well-doing, God will deliver you from that security, pride, formality, dead-heartedness, lukewarmness, and censoriousness that otherwise might fall upon you.
I remember a story of a godly man, that as he was going to board the ship for France, he broke his leg; and it pleased providence so to order it, that the ship that he would have gone in at that very time was sunk, and not a man saved; so by breaking a bone his life was saved. Thus is the dealing of the Lord with his people; sometimes he exercises them with afflictions—it may be he breaks their bones; ay—but it is in order to the saving of their lives.”
-Cited from “God’s Delight in the Progress of the Upright”, which is a sermon on Psalm 44:18 preached by Thomas Brooks. Found in Banner of Truth’s 1980 edition of his works, volume 6, page 351.