Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Benefit of Afflictions

Then they hiss and spit their venom! (Letters of John Newton)

"I know, O Lord, that Your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness You have afflicted me!" Psalm 119:75

"God disciplines us for our good--that we may share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10

In Scripture, we read much concerning the emptiness, vanity and uncertainty of the present world.

When our minds are enlightened by the Holy Spirit--then we receive and acknowledge what His Word declares to be truth. Yet if we remain long without changes and trials, and when our path is very smooth--we are for the most part but faintly affected with what we profess to believe. But when some of our dearest friends die, or we ourselves are brought low with pain and sickness--then we not only say, but feel that this world must not, cannot be our rest!

Strength of grace is not ordinarily acquired by those who sit still and live at ease.

Afflictions do us good likewise, as they make us more acquainted with what is in our own hearts, and thereby promote humiliation and self-abasement. There are abominations which, like nests of vipers, lie so quietly within our hearts, that we hardly suspect they are there--until the rod of affliction rouses them! Then they hiss and spit their venom! This discovery is indeed very distressing--yet, until it is made, we are prone to think ourselves much less vile than we really are, and cannot so heartily abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes.

I must write a sermon rather than a letter--if I would enumerate all the good fruits which, by the power of sanctifying grace, are produced from this bitter tree of affliction!

While we have such a depraved nature, and live in such a polluted world; while the roots of pride, vanity, self-dependence and self-seeking, are so strong within us--we need a variety of sharp afflictions to keep us from cleaving to the dust!"

Before I was afflicted I went astray--but now I obey Your Word." Psalm 119:67


Dave Parrish said...

I am learning the gift of afflictions. I am under many, from work, from rejection by family members to the message of the Gospel, health afflictions. I used to focus prayers on God to fix all these problems, but now ask for His help to remove them in His will,but to also give me more grace and His abiding presence though them. God Bless, Dave Parrish

Denise said...

I trust these verses will bring you comfort as you trust the Great Shepherd and knows what's best for you:

Col 1:9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
Col 1:10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Col 1:11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
Col 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
Col 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

2Co 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
2Co 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2Co 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2Co 1:6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
2Co 1:7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Php 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
Php 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--
Php 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Php 3:11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Php 3:12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Php 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
Php 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
Php 3:16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

God never wastes our pain for those who are in Christ Jesus. You're on the right track in now asking for God to give you grace to endure your trials. I think that honors Him. May the Lord give you peace as you trust Him and pray, and cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Grief may remain for the night, but JOY comes in the morning. Trials are temporary, but His love, His kindness, His grace, His healing, His joy, His peace is enduring!