The Affliction of the Afflicted

The Affliction of the Afflicted


Many times I have written about scripture that tells us how followers of Jesus Christ will suffer afflictions, tribulations, persecutions, etc. Our walk with Christ is not always easy, but it is always good (from an eternal perspective). With the indwelling power, presence and promptings of the Holy Spirit of God, we must persevere.
  • 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

I have typically written about dealing with these struggles from the perspective of an individual. That is perfectly fine and legitimate; but we are part of a family! We must:
  • Suffer Together
    • The builders of bonds, not the belligerent
  • Support Each Other
    • The bearers of burdens, not the bystanders
  • Survive as Christ’s Church
    • The body of believers, not the buildings

Here are four verses that stress the importance of dealing with the affliction of the afflicted as a body of believers, not as individuals.
  • Mark 10:29-30 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.
  • Acts 14:21-22 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
  • 2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
  • Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

We are in this together!
  • From Mark 10 ‘…brothers and sisters and mothers and children…’
  • From Acts 14 ‘We must through many tribulations…’
  • From 2 Corinthians ‘For our light affliction…’
  • From Hebrews 11 ‘…to suffer affliction with the people of God…’

In Psalm 119, the words affliction and afflicted appear a total of seven times. These words express different perspectives of the same reality.
  • Affliction (vs 50, 92, 153) – depression, misery
    • A condition (state of being)
    • A person suffers with affliction as a part of a group or as an individual.
  • Afflicted (vs 67, 71, 75, 107) – to depress, defile, weaken, abase self, chasten self
    • A circumstance (situation of bearing)
    • A person has been afflicted by other(s) or by self.

Dealing With Affliction
(Bearing the Condition)
Regardless of why we suffer with affliction, God’s Word is the prescribed remedy.

Solace During
  • 49-50 Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.
    • The hope that can only be found in the purity and perfection of God’s Word will bring comfort in the most difficult conditions.
Surviving Destruction
  • 92 Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.
    • The power and pleasure of God’s Word sustains us.
Seeking Deliverance
  • 153 Consider my affliction and deliver me, For I do not forget Your law.
    • The presence and permanence of God’s Word sets us free.


Developing While Afflicted
(Maturing through Circumstances)
Regardless of who has afflicted us, through God’s Word there is an opportunity to grow.

Surrendered Defiance
  • 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.
    • Ignorance, inexperience and insurgency lead to poor decisions and disobedience; through trials and tribulations we become educated, experienced and enthusiastic promoters of obedience to God’s Word.
Secured Decrees
  • 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
    • Difficult circumstances should drive us to our knees and into God’s Word.
Sovereign Discipline
  • 75 I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
    • Our Father is all knowing and rules over all; God’s Word tells us that our rebellions and shortcomings lead to His righteous, faithful and loving correction.
Sustaining Declarations
  • 107 I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.
    • God’s Word is full of promises to deliver us from death; surviving difficult circumstances increases our reliance on His assertions.


The afflicted should not be defined by their afflictions;
 
The rejected should not be defined by their rejections;
 
The addicted should not be defined by their additions;
 
 
But the redeemed are defined
by their redeemer!
 
 
Find your identity in Jesus Christ;
 
Not in the afflictions of this world!


Prayer

Father God, You are faithful in all circumstances. Despite the troubles we bring on ourselves, the tribulations brought on by others, or the difficult lessons taught to us by You, we trust that our afflictions are for our good and only for a moment. Bring comfort, deliverance, experience and wisdom to those who trust in Your Word and Your Son. Praise be to the Father, through the Spirit, in the name of the Son. Amen.