Enduring Affliction as a Child of God
By Pastor David Cox
[PC44] v3 ©2014 www.coxtracts/pc44
You may freely reproduce and print this tract
Summary: This tract is meant to help God’s children as they endure suffering and affliction. God allows suffering into our lives for his own purposes, and these ultimately are for our good. TOPICS: What is suffering? | Why does God allow suffering? | God punishes us because He loves us | How does God use suffering and affliction in our lives? | What’s God’s purpose for this? | What’s our reaction? | Give God his place over our lives | Everything is for our Good
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Suffering seems destined for the child of God. Few Christians really understand what it is and how God uses it in our lives. What purpose does it have in our lives? They doubt God saying “if he is the beloved father, how can He allow so much suffering in my life?” The answer is simple: Because suffering well serves God’s purposes.
Mic 6:9 The LORD’S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.
Suffering is just about the only thing that actually forces us to order our life and seek God. To stop and listen for God. Only if we would hear his instructions for our life before sickness and suffering comes.
What is suffering?
Suffering is a pain as things do not turn out as we wish, such as suffering, illness, affliction, unhappiness, pain, death, etc. Suffering enters our lives and hold us under stress.
Isa 45:7 I form the light, and (I Jehovah) create darkness: I make peace, and (I) create evil adversity): I the LORD do all these things. Psa 66:11; Amos 3:6… shall there be evil (adversity) in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
So we understand that blessing and peace are in his hands, everything good and everything bad comes from Him. And He, being the Creator, does both.
Why does God allow suffering?
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
The most common and logical reason that we suffer is because we sin. God punishes sin with suffering (Gen. 3:16-19). God binds both together as a deterrent or influence for man to quit sinning. But even if God sends deserved suffering, he does not like it when we suffer. Lam 3:33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
Suffering is motivated by his love, not hatred. It warns us of our separation from Him, because he is the source of all goodness, and sin also separates us from divine consolation.
Ps 46:5, 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
God lets affliction and suffering enter our life, so that we can seek refuge in Him. God wants to have close and constant communion with us and so he abandons us, so that we have to look for Him. Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
This is why God has to allow something adverse or difficult in our lives so that we will return energetically to the Lord, and it encourages us to “stick” to Him. Unfortunately, it only happens when we suffer or have problems.
Hos 5:15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
God punishes us because He loves us
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
The discipline of God (or punishment) is born of the deep love that God has for us. As Lam 3:33 says, God does not punish us for his pleasure, but he uses punishment as a wake-up call, to give us guidance and direction.
God allows affliction and suffering in our lives when we need to learn, and there is no other way that works best. We should not be surprised that the good Lord lets us suffer, what should be amazing, is that we do not seek God even knowing what he loves us so much.
Everything good comes from God, and those who dwell in His presence are always highly blessed. The Bible explains the situation: when we leave His presence, soon we encounter evil, affliction and anxiety, because we have left the presence of God.
When problems come, it is because Jehovah has abandoned us. Ezek 9:9… The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not. (He doesn’t care anymore). In the example of Saul’s case 1Sam 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. When God leaves a person, he is immediately open to the evil of Satan. But why does God leave us? Simply because he does not stay with those who sin, and all of us sin Rom 3:23 For all have sinned…
The Christian has to constantly seek the presence of God in his life, in his thoughts and in his reasoning. Job constantly sought to fix God in his life everywhere and he obtained many blessings for it. Satan challenged God on that point, that if Job was broken, Job would not continue to be loyal to God but he would hate God. God left Job without his divine protection, and allowed affliction to enter his life to test Satan’s assertion.
How does God use| suffering and affliction in our lives?
Ps 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
A refuge is protection or shelter from some danger. When we are in the presence of God, his blessing comes, because God is with us. He wants us to use Him as our refuge. We are in communion with him, living with him. But without holiness and piety, God does not communion with us. This principle forces us to cleanse our lives. We usually stop sinning when suffering afflicts.
1Thess 3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. God puts tribulation in the believer’s life so that he can have more eternal glory.
2Tim 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…
Rom 8:17… if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
1Pet 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
There is a strong link between suffering as a child of God and glory in eternity. This suffering is identified with the suffering and affliction of Jesus that he did not deserve, but for the glorious divine character to shine in Jesus, God let
suffering come on Christ, and his attitude in suffering gave much glory to God.
This is what happens with us. It is extremely important, as children of God, that we should not focus only on complaints, “injustices” or excessive rigor of our suffering, but on the reaction before God and the world. We must remember Job; his glory was his fidelity and loyalty even in the great suffering of his life. Dan 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
What’s God’s purpose for this?
There are several reasons that affliction serves in our lives. God punishes sin, this is common. In the case of Job, suffering is to prove and truly manifest what it is that we are spiritually. God said to Satan,
Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
God tests us for his glory, forming our character. God uses tribulation to form our character. Zech 13:9…I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. The tribulation works in patience Stg 1:3; Rom 5:3 in righteousness “tribulation works the peaceable fruit of righteousness” Heb. 12:11 in holiness “they chastened us … so that we may participate in their righteousness.”
The most important thing about affliction in our lives is that it identifies us with Jesus Christ, and by that means, we will share his glory (Isa 53). Thus, Paul understood: Acts 14:22 “that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” In some way, tribulation is essential in our salvation.
What is our reaction?
Like Christ and like the prophets, let us accept affliction as the divine will for our lives. Heb 12:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:21-23; James 5:10 We must resign ourselves, 1Sam 3:18 “And Samuel…It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good. ” Give the glory to God Job 1:21… the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” We endure without complaint, Ps 39:9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.” Do not despise this work of God.
Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:.” Pro. 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: Let the affliction shape us spiritually and let us abandon sin. Job 34:31 Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: 32 That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more. ”
Give God his place over our Lives
Ps 116:7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. 8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. 9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
God allowed suffering and affliction to come into our lives. It was to get closer to Him.
Everything is for our Good
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
What God does is good for all, saved and unconverted. But unbelievers are upset with God for their afflictions, denying the benefit, because they do not love God. The child of God accepts “the bad” “from the hand of God” as part of God’s work in his life, to bring glory to being with God. This is accepted by the believer as “a good thing from the hand of God.” Although suffering is the same for believers and unbelievers, the effect is very different because of each person’s reaction.
Affliction destroys the soul of the unconverted because he does not understand it, nor does he know our “good God”. It only infuriates him more against God, causing even more sin. The believer understands that in suffering and affliction there are purposes for his life, and he reacts with faith and trust in his God, who only wants what is best for us. Through the path of suffering, God edifies us spiritually.
Blessed be the name and purposes of God!
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