4 Benefits of Affliction

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“The very fact that he assaults us should fill our minds with hope.”

– J.C. Ryle

Direction

We know that God is sovereign and that whatever comes our way is always going to work out for our best in the end (Rom. 8:28). So if we run into interference when we’re trying to do something important, maybe God’s telling us we need to go another direction. God’s correction is always done in love and never in anger. He is better than any earthly father and knows far better what’s best for His children. As children we just don’t always know what’s best for ourselves. Maybe this is the humility Jesus sought in the followers of the kingdom: that of a young child (Matt. 18:3).

Reflection

If there’s an area in our life that God is not pleased with, He’ll assault us through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s affliction is really not a bad thing at all. In fact, the psalmist wrote, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (119:71), meaning it was a good thing God allowed this affliction to come to him because it made him learn God’s word. Knowing God’s Word can help keep us out of sin.

Correction

Now that my son has his own children, he understands why I had to correct him when he was young. He saw that discipline was connected to love. Without discipline there is only apathy; but where there is discipline, there is always love. The author of Hebrews wrote, “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:6). Any correction God sends us is because He loves us and wants us to seek Him more. I say “us” because I’m certainly not above correction either! God can take me behind the spiritual “woodshed,” too.

Affection

I touched on this earlier, that discipline shows there is love in it. If you don’t care what happens to someone, then you really don’t love that person. However, if you have affection for them, you’ll be brave enough to correct them if you see them hurting themselves by some serious sin. That’s what friends do. God sometimes uses others to correct us, but we must remind them that our concern for them is motivated out of love, as is God’s. Friends are born for such adversity. Friends love at all times (Prov. 17:17) and love you enough to tell you (and me) the truth.

Conclusion

God works in mysterious ways, which we cannot always comprehend or see. I am sure He has done many things for us that we don’t even know about; I’m certain of that. We need to recognize that God loves us enough to discipline us to change our direction in life, make us reflect on our lives, and correct us when we need it for our own good and to know that He loves us enough to always do what’s best for us.

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Jack is an author and pastor at the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane, Kansas. You can find more writing from Jack at WhatChristiansWantToKnow.com and FaithInTheNews.com.