There is a slight chill in the air and that means Fall is upon us. So long to watching my children’s sports in the hot sun! Last night, I put on my fleece jacket and was tempted to sit next to a total stranger who had a portable heater.
Just like the seasons change, situations in our lives change and can change quite quickly. We can be going along the easy street of life and suddenly the potholes and the twist and turns of affliction can take us by surprise. There are no warning signs when affliction occurs, it can just pop up like a traffic jam on google maps.
I spoke to a women’s group recently about affliction and the Bibe says in Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statues.” Let me just say, when I think of the word affliction, warm fuzzies do not follow.
Affliction is like a four-letter word. When I hear it, I get nervous. But I have learned that the Lord will permit what he does not like to achieve what He desires for us. For example, no greater glory has come out of affliction that the affliction of Jesus Christ. God desires for us to be an image of Him and to walk in the Spirit. In order for that to happen, His Son had to die.
There are two reasons that God allows affliction. The first reason is about us and our sin nature. Psalm 119:67 says, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep you word.” Affliction helps us to be obedient. Much like discipline does in raising children.
The second reason that God allows affliction is about where God is taking us. He afflicted Paul for this reason. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 it says, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.”
Paul saw a vision of paradise and witnessed things that words cannot describe. Because of the abundance of the revelation (the place where God was taking him) a thorn was necessary to temper his flesh so that he would not become prideful. Most of the time we focus on the thorn (the affliction) but not the revelation. Paul experienced a facet of God that many others will never experience.
Paul asked the Lord to remove his thorn three times, but God denied his request but offered him grace that was sufficient for his situation.
Whatever your affliction is right now, God’s grace is sufficient for the situation. If we surrender to God’s will in our lives, we will realize that when we are weak, He is strong. Then we will be like Paul when he said, “I will glory in my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
I don’t know about you, but I need the power of Christ to rest upon me daily!
Until next time!
Cheryl J. Davis