God’s purpose in affliction

A good warm up here might involve reading Five Ways Affliction Helps by John Piper from a couple of weeks ago.

Typically when we encounter personal affliction of any kind, our first response is to determine what we can either do to escape the affliction or simply make it go away.

But in the kingdom of God, is that always the right course of action?

Quite frankly, my experience has revealed that a hasty attempt as escape or resolution sometimes has far greater costs and robs us of the joy, spiritual insights and comforting presence of God found in the midst.

If I may, I’d like to share some of what Scripture reveals as God’s purpose in affliction.

Let’s start with Job … in the midst of adversity God delivers man by our afflictions!

He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity. Job 36:15 (ESV)

In the moment of our affliction, we determine there is something far greater … God’s promise of life!

This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. Psalm 119:50 (ESV)

Affliction may tame a wayward soul and draw them to learn and keep God’s word!

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. Psalm 119:67 (ESV)

God comforts us in our afflictions … that we might comfort others in their affliction as He has comforted us!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)

Our light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory as we look heavenward!

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV)

In the midst of our affliction … in the midst of ALL circumstances, we are to rejoice, pray without ceasing and give thanks for this is the will of God IN Christ Jesus for us!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Afflictions test, perfect and complete our faith!

We are to find joy in the midst of affliction!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-3 (ESV)

Complete your works IN me via my afflictions Lord … complete your work!



About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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5 Responses to God’s purpose in affliction

  1. not a popular message, but one we need to hear so very much today. We live in a society and time when people see only the physical moment of now. This is true even among so-called church people. Believers need to be remimded that God has a purpose in affliction and that He alone gives meaning to every aspect of life.

    • bwebbjr says:

      And while this was written a little over a week ago, it is a message I desperately need to embrace as I go thru some excruciating back pain. God’s timing is perfect in bringing this lesson to the forefront of my life. Thank you Lord!!!

      • It would still be nice sometimes to know the ‘why’ and what kind of glory He’s working in us. Until we know, I’ll continue to pray for you. Habakkuk 3:17-19.

      • bwebbjr says:

        Yes indeed, the Lord God is my strength … thanks for the prayer and the Scripture reference. One day we will understand the why … but I’m sure at that time it will no longer matter.

  2. Pingback: Beethoven’s Fifth and Affliction | Where Living Begins

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