Before I Was Afflicted


Being afflicted is something people can’t seem to reconcile with a loving God these days. Why all the pain and suffering in this life if there is really a good God in charge of it all? If He can do anything why doesn’t He change circumstances? Why doesn’t He wave His hand and remove the pain, at least, if not the circumstance?

My answer to this question is not all encompassing. There are many situations we face that we might not know why until we can ask Jesus face to face. But many times there is a simple answer if we are only willing to accept it. 

Afflicted For Correction

And that simple answer is: correction.

Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.

 You, see, God is very limited in the amount of ways He can get the attention of deaf and callous people. He would probably much prefer to whisper in our ear, gently, the thing that needs remedied in our lives and we just surrender and let Him do what He needs to in order to fix it. 

But it doesn’t always work that way. We often think obedience is optional and we turn to distractions to drown out that quiet voice in our hearts. God in turn increases the volume of His own voice to a greater degree than the distractions we have surrounded ourselves with. And it often comes in the form of pain and being afflicted. 

This isn’t a popular message in a hyper grace culture, but it’s what the Word says. And it’s reiterated in various different ways throughout the Bible. 

Afflicted To Be Shaped

Hebrews 12:5-6 quotes from proverbs: And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” – ESV 

Maybe that’s why we are supposed to rejoice in being afflicted according to Romans 5:3-5. It is often a sure sign of God’s love for us. But we don’t take it that way at times, because we get so caught up in the way we feel instead of in the truth of God’s Word.

Schemes Of The Enemy

To make this a well-rounded approach to the subject, I should interject that I know we face schemes of the enemy many times that are not necessarily chastisement from God. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. God seeks to build us up. 

So, yes, there are many times we need to use discernment and when we are under attack from the enemy, we resist him until he flees according to the promise. But God even uses those attacks for our ultimate shaping and good. Nothing goes to waste when we are in God’s family. 

But if you are not in the family of God, the enemy is often free to pillage with impunity. So this gives an answer to the believer and the unbeliever. The unbeliever is often putting pain to God’s charge that is coming from the enemy. 

A few more verses to finish my thoughts on the matter: 

Tidings Of Comfort & Joy

1 Thessalonians 1:6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit – ESV  

1 Corinthians 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. – ESV 

In these two verses we see a pattern or an illustration. We see that in Christ there is always joy and comfort that come with being afflicted. 

When I was in a lost state, I sought sinful pleasures that brought me misery. So for a while, I had comfort or pleasure mixed with suffering. But the suffering increased while the comfort and pleasure became harder to come by. These miseries would have only increased with time, and, had I not repented, would have ended in the ultimate misery of an eternity in hell.

As a Christian we see the reversal of this process. There is an abundance of suffering in our new life, but it’s always accompanied by comfort and joy. And as the Lord works out tangles we got ourselves into in our sinful state, and that we currently still get ourselves into, occasionally, we experience more and more freedom. And this trend continues until we find eternal life, away from this body of corruption where all is comfort and joy.

 Hallelujah, it’s all worth it! 

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