Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Affliction.



"Do not recoil from afflictions, since they are among My most favored gifts."

I read that early this morning in my devotional "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young (though most of the writings are really Jesus speaking and Ms. Young just writes it down with Scripture to solidify it all).

I had the picture of a snake getting ready to strike, but then "recoiling" quickly after being threatened with a big, fat bat to the head. Yeah, that sounds like my response to afflictions at times! Could they be one of Jesus' "most favored gifts"? You have got to be kidding! This Jesus..full of love, mercy, grace, joy....giving us a GIFT of AFFLICTION!? What is He ON!?

I am reminded of the passage from Luke 22:

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

What is affliction? Dictionary.com says it's 1:a state of pain, distress, or grief; misery: They sympathized with us in our affliction.
2.a cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity,or persecution.

Sometimes affliction comes as a result of sin....consequences and such. Sometimes affliction comes as a result of what Luke 22 is saying....Satan asked to sift us like wheat, God gives permission and Jesus is interceding on our behalf during the process. A gift?

The gift part of it all must come when His strength and glory are shone through our weakness in that affliction....for how can their be reconciliation without division, forgiveness without sin, grace without wrongdoing, joy without sorrow, a show of strength without weakness? You get the point....the gift part is the amazing opposite of affliction that can only come after affliction. Mmm. And in affliction, Jesus is interceding for us so that instead of that affliction causing us to run from the faith or die or whatever our temptation may be in order to cope, we will be STRENGTHENED in the faith so that we can encourage and strengthen our "brothers" to endure affliction as well. In the end, we will enjoy pure freedom and joy, peace, and His Presence more fully than before....appreciate His Presence more than before.

His favor is all over affliction.
I feel conflicted and convicted in my affliction. "Lord, thank you for my current afflictions because I know that You are working within them to reveal Your glory and precious gifts in me...may they draw me closer to You."

Ugh....
Be blessed.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers us from them all. Ps 34:19 :)

RuthAnn said...

Thanks Bethany. You might consider writing a book. Just a thought.

Unknown said...

I have been reading this same devotional for the past 7 months or so. I read it this morning and was looking up recoil definition so I could better understand the idea. But I Found your blog on this reading instead. I think you hit it right on the spot. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it. It truly helped me understand.