Glad to Be Afflicted

Glad to Be Afflicted
A post by Howard Bennett
April 17, 2020

Okay , it’s confession time… There are several passages in scripture that make me wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” Take a look at these passages: Psa 119:71 - It is good for me that I was afflicted… Rom 5:3 - And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations… James 1:2 - Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials… There are MANY more. I don’t know about you, but when a trial or affliction comes my way, these are not my first thoughts. As I’ve meditated on these over the several weeks, I’ve had to ask myself, “Why don’t I react like David and Paul when I’m afflicted? Why isn’t my first thought ‘Joy’?” For me, it’s because I’m thinking about myself and how the trial I’m facing affects me NOW – in the present. That is, I ask myself questions like this: • How does this affliction affect my physical body? I don’t want to be sick! • How does this affliction affect my ability to be comfortable? I don’t want to hurt! • How does this trial prevent me from achieving my goals in life? I don’t want my plans to fail! To be frank, those are selfish thoughts. As a leader and a planner, I need to ask those questions in order to plan well. But, often times, those questions only stir up fear and anxiety. The difference in me and the great men of faith we see in scripture is that they have their eyes focused on Christ and on things eternal rather than things that are a mere vapor - the temporal things of this world. Listen to the rest of the verses I mentioned at the start: Psa 119:71: It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. Rom 5:3-4: 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. James 1:2-4: 2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Those are some pretty great consequences of affliction! When our eyes on things temporal, we have a hard time seeing that. But, when our eyes are on things eternal, we will be able to respond rightly and in a God honoring way to the difficulties He brings our way.

Howard Bennett - Elder

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