June 2009

  from Pastor Blain  

Reasons To Rejoice In Affliction

In Psalm 34:19, we read – “Many are the afflictions of the righteous . . .”  It is a fundamental principle that since God is a holy and loving Father of the righteous, He continually strives in His infinite wisdom to make us more like Jesus Christ.  Given this Divine work, afflictions should not surprise God’s “righteous”.

We can be certain of God’s intricate and effective intervention in every circumstance of each day to make us more like Jesus Christ at the end of the night than when we woke up earlier that morning.  This is true even though God alone has the capacity to gage such spiritual growth in holiness on a “day by day” basis. 

Not a day goes by without the Lord working continually to conform us more and more into the image of His holy Son.  Thus, to enhance our dependence upon the Lord, God faithfully works to ensure that our “many afflictions” are measured and placed carefully within His perfect providence through which we grow into the person of Christ in every dimension of our being – our thinking, our attitudes, our priorities, etc., as we depend on Him for the power to bring this all about. 

Each affliction is authored by God so that the product of the Lord’s work within  us  will be a deeper grounding and rooting in Jesus Christ.  The Lord has a wonderful plan for our lives, but that plan is not to keep us free of affliction.  Rather the Lord often will send affliction into our day so that we are drawn to Him, are more dependent upon Him, and so that we will be compelled to seek our happiness primarily in and through Christ.  In Ps 4:7 speaks of the gladness which the Lord provides as that which is greater than temporal blessing  - “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound.”

The Lord’s infinite love is so fixed upon us that no person, no force of evil and no source of personal affliction can thwart God’s effort to use every aspect of our daily lives to unfold that love into the ebb and flow of each day’s experience.  God’s love is infinitely wise.  He is consequently always seeking our best interests.  Thus in Romans 8:35-39, Paul states that no trial or heart break of life can separate us from God’s perfect love. Consequently in every situation of God’s providence we are more than conquerors.

Thus the above statement in Psalm 34:19 that the righteous, God’s children, will as a general rule experience “many afflictions” does not end with a description of our many afflictions.  Verse 19 continues indicating that in “all” of these “many afflictions” our God promises to “deliver”; There are no exceptions.  And this is one very great promise.

Given God’s promise of “deliverance” in our “many afflictions” let us rejoice – our God is absolutely faithful.  He will always respond to affliction and deliver us.  What are the means of that deliverance? No specific means are indicated by the psalmist.  Scripture however indicates that God will enable us to not only endure the full measure of the affliction [1 Cor 10:13], but that through the affliction some marvelous by-product will be accomplished for our benefit and for our cause of rejoicing.  Let me suggest a few of these Biblical reasons to rejoice in our many afflictions:

1.  James 1:2-4 states that through trials the Lord makes us complete in Christ; and that therefore when we are surrounded by trials we are to “consider it all joy”.

2.  Heb 12:10-11 indicates this affliction may be used by God to bring about greater holiness and the peaceful fruit of righteousness in God’s child even though the affliction may be in itself a cause of temporary sorrow.

3.   John 15:1 states that the Lord prunes those branches that bear fruit

 so that they may produce more fruit.  Clearly affliction is one means of

 this “pruning”.

4.  Rom 5:3-5 describes the end result to trials as perseverance, proven

 character, a hope which does not disappoint, and the tapping into the

 love of God which has been poured out in our hearts.

5.  In 2 Cor 4:17 Paul states that afflictions bring about a greater glory

 that is not worthy to be compared to the afflictions on this earth which in

 comparison are seen as temporary and of light weight.

6.  Psalm 119:67, 71, 75 indicates that the psalmist went astray before

He was afflicted.  Afflictions produce obedience.

7.  1 Peter 1:6-9 teaches us that afflictions, even though at the time they

 may seem sorrowful, yield the fruit of a genuine, purified faith.

8.  Col 1:24 states that afflictions caused by persecution for Christ allow

 us the privilege to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.

9.  2 Cor 1:3-4 indicates that afflictions provide the occasion to

 experience the more abundant comfort of God and this Divine comfort

 equips us to comfort others who share similar affliction.

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427