Pastor’s Blog

Descriptions of Our Afflictions in the Bible

The Bible says a great deal about human affliction.  The affliction for the unsaved, and affliction in the life of the saved have completely different meanings.  For the unsaved, afflictions usually make absolutely no sense, so the unbeliever gets bitter, angry, blaming God or others, lashing out, or just spending the rest of their lives asking why.

It is different for the believer who has a relationship with Jesus and the Bible.  It doesn’t make our afflictions easy, but it does make them more understandable.  For the believer, the Bible puts our afflictions in perspective.  We have the right perspective on our troubles.

The Bible calls them “LIGHT AFFLICTIONS.”

2Co 4:17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

This is from the apostle Paul who endured unimaginable afflictions which we can read about in Acts 9:16, and 2 Corinthians 11:22-27.  Yet he describes our afflictions as “light” compared to what is coming.  None of us probably consider our afflictions “light” while they are happening to us.  “Light” means easy to bear.  We read what the apostle Paul endured, yet he still calls his afflictions and our light with the knowledge of what is coming.

SOMETIMES WHAT WE GET IS WORTH WHAT WE HAVE GONE THROUGH TO GET IT!

THAT IS WHAT THE BIBLE IS TELLING US.

WHAT WE WILL GET IN EXCHANGE FOR THE THINGS WE ENDURED IN THIS LIFE WILL FAR, FAR OUTWEIGH WHAT WE HAVE HAD TO SUFFER THROUGH.

Eternity will make our afflictions appear relatively easy to us.  This should help us when we are suffering physically, spiritually, mentally, financially, or any other “ally” way.  When you finally get your paycheck, it doesn’t weigh so heavily on you what you had to go through to get it.  “Afflictions may be lasting, but they are not everlasting.”  Remember, “It came to pass.”  For the Christian, our afflictions come with a quality that those without God cannot claim.

1Pe 1:7- That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

“The trial of your faith” is an expression of our afflictions.  For the unsaved, there is NO trial of their faith because they don’t have faith in Jesus yet.  For each believer every trial is a trial of your faith, meant to build or strengthen it.  I call it resistance theology- like resistance training.  It builds your spiritual muscle.  Notice what God says about the trying of your faith: “Much more precious than of gold that perisheth.”  We should see our afflictions in this life as much more valuable than the riches of gold, or anything else considered valuable in this world.  More than this, His goal is the QUALITY OF YOUR FAITH!

“Found unto praise, and honor, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

Faith He can appreciate, faith He can congratulate, faith He can honor.  Your faith may not have moved mountains, but it kept you from moving.  “Heaviness” means sadness, grief, sorrow.  It is okay for believers to experience such things- their faith is being tried.  Their faith is being refined to merit the praise of Jesus Himself.  O, that we could understand these things more.

1Co 13:12- For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

There is a divine appointment or purpose to our afflictions.  God is involved in these things.  The book of Job is the Christian text book on afflictions.  In the first two chapters we read about SUFFERING FROM A HEAVENLY POINT OF VIEW,

Chapters 3-37 shows us SUFFERING FROM A HUMAN POINT OF VIEW,

Chapters 38-42 show us SUFFERING FROM A HUMBLE POINT OF VIEW.

If we did not have the first two chapters, we would be lost in the next forty chapters!  God would not have offered Job up to Satan’s testing if God did not know Job could endure it, and his faith would be refined.  Don’t think for a second that the trying of his faith wasn’t precious in the sight of God

Job isn’t the only book. There is another view from heaven when it comes to affliction.  In fact, we have a NT book that looks down from eternity onto the affliction of God’s people.  In the book of Revelation, when Jesus speaks to the seven churches in the first two chapters, we almost always focus on the repeated message to these seven churches- “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth unto the churches.”  There is also the seven-times repeated message: “I know thy works.”  But there is one more: the overcoming message.

Ephesus: 1:7- “to him that overcometh”

Smyrna: 1:11- “He that overcometh”

Pergamos: 1:17- “To him that overcometh”

Thyatira: 1:26- “He that overcomeht”

Sardis: 2:5- “He that overcometh”

Philadelphia: 2:12- “Him that overcometh”

Laodicea: 2:21- “Him that overcometh”

This is the trying of our faith, and eternity is very involved and interested in us overcoming.  You might be tried by fire, but you will come out of the fire.  Like the 3 Hebrews, you won’t be burned nor carry the smell of smoke on you.  He is here to help you through your afflictions.

He doesn’t just tell us, get over it, or get through it.  You are not alone in your sufferings.  Sometimes we have to make it day-by-day even though the pain in the leg won’t go away.  We have to believe when the headaches come, and the healing doesn’t.  Our faith is tried when day after day we don’t know where we are going to get the money to make it.  Your faith is tried, sometimes by fire, when you feel the pain, and sometimes by flood when you feel like you are drowning.  But your faith is never tried beyond your God-given ability to bear it.

SOMETIMES WHAT WE GET IS WORTH WHAT WE HAVE GONE THROUGH TO GET IT!

 

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