A Painful Victory

Who Suffers From Affliction?

Everyone does.  We all experience trial and affliction no matter who we are or how lost we are.  Everyone hurts.  Often we see the ungodly man or woman in suffering:  Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.” Ps. 107:17

However, it really isn’t as easy to understand the sufferings of the believers.  We can try to explain it but we still end up with questions:  “Many are the afflictions of the righteous,  but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”  Ps. 34:19. 

I guess there is some comfort in knowing that other believers are also being tested and that it is part of God’s plan.

What Are Some Godly Examples of Testing?

  • Job– “see thou mine affliction;” Job 10:15
  • Moses– “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”  Hebrews 11:25
  • David– “I am afflicted very much;  revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.”  Ps. 119:107
  • The Prophets– “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.”   James 5:10
  • Jesus Christ– He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth”  Isa. 53:10
  • Paul– “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart” I wrote to you, with many tears. “ 2 Cor. 2:4

But it is not enough to know the ‘realness’ of your affliction.  We insist on knowing why.  Why am I suffering in this way?  Moses, probably the stellar personality in the Old Testament asked, “So Moses said to the LORD, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me?”  Ex. 11:11

Afflictions Are For Our Good

Psalm 119:75 says, “I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”

Why would David thank God in afflicting him? I think that David was able to see through the affliction.  He then could realize that the intentions and purposes of God were good and edifying to him.  He saw the divine purpose in God’s hands.  He chose to trust that.

This pain is working out for our good

The Bible is quite clear on this subject.  “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.  Exceeding and eternal!  Words that need to impress us with their weight.  Our afflictions are not our focus, it’s what they produce must be our focus.

We are explicitly told this, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”,  Romans 8:28.

Kyrie Elesion, (Lord, have mercy)

Bryan

Losing Everything

My own studies have immersed me in the awful book of Job. This man lost everything–there is much we can learn from him. But it may be a definite challenge to plow through these “dark” issues. But we need to do this, sooner or later.

First of all, Job is a mysterious book. There’s no reference to the Temple or the Temple services. No connection with other biblical writings or persons. Most students believe that the book of Job is the first one written in the Old Testament.

It’s not Jewish, but it’s not pagan either. In a real sense, it speaks about suffering and pain. Job lost everything. The book tries to explain what brokenbelievers face every day. We all struggle. We all will experience suffering and loss.

Job connects us with those with illnesses–mental or physical.

We are people who must try to navigate through dark things. Most will never really understand this, but we are those who must face adversity and conflict. Like Job we ask why. We may even end up accusing God of attacking us.

We have to sort things out and believe me, it’s never easy. As we try we’ll often ask “why me?” We often accuse God. But I’m thoroughly convinced that the Almighty isn’t fazed by our questions and we should never think we’re wrong when we so challenge his goodness. He’s big enough to handle these.

In Job we’ll hear God speak to us through “the whirlwind.”

I want to encourage you (the reader) to find place in your heart for this book. Job isn’t easy to read–but I’ve gained a lot by reading it in the Message translation, but any other modern Bible works.

We’ll realize all of our questions will probably not be answered, but that’s okay. The problem of our suffering will most likely remain. There are no pat answers. I’m sorry.

“Anyone who has suffered knows that there is no such thing as “getting a grip on oneself” or “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. The only bootstrap in the Christian life is the Cross, sometimes laying hold of the cross can be comforting, but other times it is like picking up a snake.””

“Job knew this firsthand. From him we learn that there are no easy answers to suffering. That the mark of true faith is not happiness, but rather, having one’s deepest passions be engaged by the enormity of God. And through Job we learn the secret of the gospel: that “mercy is the permission to be human.” The Lord never gave Job an explanation for all he had been through. His only answer was Himself. But as Job discovered, that was enough.”

Mike Mason

Disproportionate Suffering

Image result for John Newton

Some Christians are called to endure a disproportionate amount of suffering. Such Christians are a spectacle of grace to the church, like flaming bushes unconsumed, and cause us to ask, like Moses: ‘Why is this bush not burned up?’ Exodus 3:2-3

The strength and stability of these believers can be explained only by the miracle of God’s sustaining grace. The God who sustains Christians in unceasing pain is the same God — with the same grace — who sustains me in my smaller sufferings. We marvel at God’s persevering grace and grow in our confidence in Him as He governs our lives.

— John Newton, author of “Amazing Grace”

All of us know a brother or sister who seems to be a target of an undue amount of suffering. It seems like they’re always in the furnace. All we can do really is to shake our heads and then give them double honor for their faith in God’s grace and providence.

Ministering to these sufferers can be a challenge.

What can we say to those who seem to be on “God’s anvil?” How can we bless those who are in pain?

Perhaps a simple word of calm encouragement is the most effective. In the midst of some awful difficulties, I once had a dear brother who gently and carefully quoted Philippians 1:6 to me over and over whenever we met and whenever we parted:

 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Philippians 1:6

It was a precious thing that he did. I didn’t mind it all, as a matter of fact I grew to like it. At first, I’ll admit it was strange, but my faith began to ‘mix’ with the Word and I began to believe it. It’s now my favorite verse in the Bible.

He refused to preach (or counsel) at me. He had the maturity to see what God was doing and to make himself available to God on my behalf. Perhaps that patience he showed should be for us the method of choice? I look forward to seeing him someday, someway.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.”

Romans 5:3

A keyword in this verse is “rejoice.”

It is a good reminder that the pain we feel is not the end. These trials have a limited duration (although it seems far away). There is coming a day when we can navigate through these issues and come out on the other side. “We will shine like the stars” (Daniel 12:3).

Much wisdom is needed in our ministry to disproportionate sufferers. We should have a fear of intruding on the work the Lord is doing. We must be patient and humble in this matter. There is no rushing God, after all, it’s His work. Most importantly we must be very much ‘present’ for our friend.

But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance,

Romans 5:3

A “word” spoken out of place can cause even more ‘heartache’ for the sufferer. Let us be careful. At times it’s better not to say anything, and that’s alright. Job’s friends were best sitting in the ash heap saying not a word.  

The Lord God gives me
the right words
    to encourage the weary.
Each morning he awakens me
    eager to learn his teaching.

Isaiah 50:4, CEB

Please dear one, be very much aware of these.

A Taste of a Poem

 

Darkness to Light – A Poem

I have been challenged us to stop hiding behind the masquerade of a perfect life, and share our struggles so that others might benefit from our journey with God. Then yesterday morning, during my prayer time, a poem came to me that shows my own struggles with depression. I decided to share it today.

Darkness to Light

Darkness surrounded me
Darkness invaded my mind
Darkness enveloped my very soul

In the darkness
The evil one whispered
Thoughts that seemed my own
They’d be better off without me
It would be better if I was dead

Tears drowned me
Tears flooded my mind
Tears drenched my very soul

Through the tears
The evil one whispered
Thoughts I believed were true
I am broken beyond repair
These tears will never end

Pain ensnared me
Pain clouded my mind
Pain threatened my very soul

Amplifying the pain
The evil one whispered
Thoughts I was powerless to deny
This pain will forever cripple me
I will never know joy

Then His Light
Pierced through the darkness
Illuminating my soul
Revealing the sin in my mind
Proclaiming the way for me

Forgive He whispered
As I’ve forgiven you
Your darkness will subside
His words are true

Then His Love
Dried all my tears
Infusing my soul with joy
Clarifying truth in my mind
Declaring healing for me

Live He whispered
As I live in you
Your tears will be dried
His words are true

Then His Truth
Erased my pain
Protecting my soul
Clearing lies from my mind
Redeeming me

Love He whispered
As I forever love you
Your pain will be set aside
His words are true

Darkness, tears, and pain
Replaced by my Savior’s
Light, Love, and Truth
Holding me forevermore.

 

Scriptures to consider…

 3 The cords of death entangled me,
   the anguish of the grave came upon me;
   I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:
   “O LORD, save me!”

* * * * *

 8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
   my eyes from tears,
   my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the LORD
   in the land of the living.

Psalm 116 (NIV).

 

Linda’s blog is at http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/.  Please check out all she has to say.  

 

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