Purposed Affliction

2 Corinthians 4:17
 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
 
 
“Afflictions make the heart more deep, more experimental, more knowing and profound, and so, more able to hold, to contain, and beat more.” – John Bunyan
 
 
Affliction – For Your Good
Is it possible that sickness, pain, distress, and death are great gifts in the economy of God? I believe by faith this is true. Paul, the great Apostle, wrote from his prison cell,” For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” (Philippians 1:29, emphasis added). The Greek word for “given” (χαρίζομαι) means to be “granted as a favor”. So, think about it this way. God gives his children two unlikely gifts: the faith to believe as well as purposeful suffering. Again Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:21-22 that, “all is yours” including “life” and “death.”
Throughout Scripture, this theme is repeated through the lives of men and women that experience un-wasted affliction. It may seem that the situation they find themselves in is just a direct result of living within a fallen world, but as Joseph said to his brothers, “ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good“(Gen. 50:20).
But what about when the suffering isn’t merely isolated upon pages of Scripture but actively present within our lives? It s during times like these that we ask, “God..why?”
I don’t want to pretend like I have all the answers or that I can make sense of the pain you inevitably experience. But what I want to do is explain how the Apostle Paul could look at his suffering, your suffering, and mine, and as a follower of Christ say that God has the ability to purpose it for our good, His glory, while absorbing the weight.
 
Affliction – For His Glory 
The question is, “Why are afflictions, such as suffering and death, considered gifts from God?” Pain, distress, sickness, suffering, and death are really BIG issues here on Earth. They carry with them unbearable weight for the human soul. Yet, Paul tells us they are “light affliction(s)”. The Greek word for “light” (ἐλαφρόν) means “easily managed or not burdensome”! The Greek word for “affliction” ( θλίψεως) means “distress of anguish”. Stop! Hold on just one second! Is Paul saying, through the Spirit of God, that cancer, imprisonment, rejection, mental distress, and all the major trials are “manageable anguish” or “easy-to-carry loads”? Yes, that is exactly what Paul is saying. Afflictions are light when viewed with the rewards of glory to come. Suffering in this world, in this body, in this time is only manageable when viewed from the portals of eternal glory! 
Affliction – Through Your Present 
 Suffering in life; therefore, is at work for the glory of God and the sake of man. Even in the present God has a glorious purpose behind your most intolerable circumstance. Paul, in his letter to the Roman Christians, assures that “All things work together for the good..”(Romans 8:28). When we ask, “what things” the reply is, “life, death, tribulations, things present, and things to come. “What good are they accomplishing in the now?” Once again, we turn to scripture. Romans 5:3-5 presents the “domino effect” of tribulation. First, there is plain tribulation (affliction/distress), birthed from that is “patience” (endurance to remain under the challenge, to wait), waiting in tribulation brings about “experience” (approved character, proof of genuineness). Next, there is a genuine character has “hope” (anticipates with pleasure) the things of this life and the one to come, which leads to a person being “unashamed” (without confusion or frustration).
Upon the surface you may see a distressed person at first and finally sees a confident person without frustration. The tribulation does not change, but the person does! How does the person change? The radiance of God’s glory enters the soul of a man using the door of tribulation!
 
Affliction – Towards Your Future
Paul sits in prison and writes to the believers at Philip that the work of God is a process. It takes time and it begins within. The struggle, hurt, darkness, faith, repentance, and glory begins inside as a world wind of tribulation till it becomes settled glory. Today trust God’s Word, Trust God’s Work, and Look toward Heaven where there is “settled Glory” for your “light affliction”.

Leave a Reply