So we plow on in this miniseries on “Victory in Our Affliction”.
This is part 3.
Can Our Pain Produce Anything Good?
Our pain tells us we are growing in Christlikeness. When we hurt often the Lord will draw quite close, with pain focusing our eyes to see Him, others and His Kingdom. It is far from pleasant. Diamonds are produced in confinement and pressure. Our faith is like a precious jewel ‘in the making’. Gold has to be refined to make it pure . “I tested you in hard times just as silver [or, gold] is refined in a heated furnace.” Isa. 48:10. Both diamonds and precious metals have to be worked on before they are recognized as authentic. Often, it will be a blast furnace of affliction.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Cor. 4:17, NKJV
“These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing.” 2 Cor. 4:17, CEV
We can hold a sense that our different afflictions are actually our employees who work for us. They ‘prompt’ us for what we need at any given moment. For example, we need to grow in love. What does God do? He sends us very difficult and frustrating people for us to love. He sends us His best for us! Our lessons are given to guide us into a Christlike identity.
The natural impulse is to regard our affliction as eroding our faith, or degrading it. But the opposite is true. Affliction is like the weight bars waiting for us in the gym. The bar and weights do not have an agenda or impulse to defeat me. They are there to help me. The gym is a wonderful metaphor for us to grasp spiritual things.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” Romans 5:3, KJV
The word ‘patience’ simply means ‘endurance’. And it seems we are starting all over in thinking that afflictions are evil, and to be avoided and rejected. But actually the opposite is true! We deal with the pain and frustration knowing it is working in us a ‘concentrated form of glory.’
“Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:3
Essentially it is all ’cause and effect’ with our provisional acceptance to the Lord’s good intention, we let Him have His way with us. It hurts, some may call it brutal, but it seems to be the only way for God to make us ready for eternity.