What goes through your mind when you read the words of this title? Struggle is not something we usually welcome, but maybe we should take a moment and look at what the Word says, because no one escapes struggles or affliction.
To grow a muscle it must be exercised. You know what they say, “No pain, no gain!” That same concept can be applied to our “faith muscle” as well. How does our faith grow? Faith, too has to be exercised, and therefore we are faced with struggles and afflictions.
What do afflictions do? They can literally change our course. Sometimes the L-rd has to get our attention, to let us know we are to do something different. We can become very comfortable and complacent, but trouble wakes up all our senses and sends us running to the throne for help and direction. Now that the L-rd has our attention, He can speak to us, and we are all ears to hear what He has to say. Affliction can bring needed change in our location, our attitude, our behavior, whatever it is that the L-rd is speaking to us about, but it may take affliction to get our attention.
Affliction does not come to destroy, and it certainly is not always about discipline, but if endured and allowed to do its work, it will cause faith to grow and even give you a testimony of deliverance. James 1:2-4 My brothers and sisters, be very happy when you are tested in different ways. You know that such testing of your faith produces endurance. Endurance is critical. Jeremiah asks a great question: “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” We must develop endurance, especially in the days the L-rd has allowed us to live. Affliction, when faced with the right attitude, develops endurance.
Lastly, we need to remember we are in really good company when affliction comes. Rabbi Shaul (Paul) said: ”In every way we’re troubled but not crushed, frustrated but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. Many are the afflictions of the righteous one, and Lord Jehovah delivers him from all of them. 2 Corinthians 4:8,9. Did you catch this? This is one of the giants of the faith speaking, and he is afflicted, troubled, frustrated, persecuted, struck down, but he is staying in the game, and we have his example today! Who are we an example for when we go through our times of trouble? What else does this verse
teach us about afflictions? That the righteous can expect them, AND the L-rd delivers the righteous from them ALL!! That is such great news.
Psalm 34:17-19 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
And remember what is ahead:
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Praise the Lord!!