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Doctor assisting woman in emergency
Doctor assisting woman in emergency

Afflictions From A Faithful God

Psalm 119:75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

We had prayed for healing. My wife of 53 years was in the early morning of her fifth day in the hospital. Since she had previously survived other severe events in the hospital, we were confident that she could go home that day. Two hours later, the Lord took her home suddenly, unexpectedly, with no opportunity for goodbyes.

Why, God? I knew part of the answer. She had suffered much in recent years. The Lord came to relieve her of her sufferings and take her home. We had hoped and prayed that the Lord would take us both at the same time. That was not God’s plan.

There are several Biblical answers to the “why” question about suffering, tragedies, and death.

Consider these Biblical events:

  • In John 9, Jesus and his disciples encounter a man who was blind from birth. The disciples asked who sinned, this man or his parents. Jesus answered, Neither, but that the works of God should be made manifest.
  • In John 11:40, Jesus explained that the death and soon-to-be resurrection of Lazarus was for the people to see the glory of God.
  • God called Job a perfect and upright man that feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1). Yet God allowed Satan to test him. Job suffered unimaginable emotional and physical trauma. In the end, Job confesses, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5,6)
  • After Paul prayed three times for deliverance from his infirmity, God said no. Paul learned that God’s grace was sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  • After David’s sin of adultery and murder, God chastened him severely over many years with the death of a child, horrendous family problems, and a son raising an army in rebellion against David’s rule.
  • In Hebrews 11, the “faith” chapter of the Bible, we read of many victories by faith in v. 1 – 35a. But a dramatic turning point comes from v. 35b to the end of the chapter. It states that other believers were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, tempted, slain with the sword, clothed in sheepskins and goatskins, and wandered in the wilderness. God allowed them to suffer severe persecution.

God is sovereign. He chooses what is best – for His glory and our good.

God is omniscient. He knows all things, including the future. He knows what is best for us. We think we know what is best for us. But we only see part of the picture. God sees it all. Assurance is given in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good.”  But this assurance is given only to those who love God and those whom God called according to his purpose.

What can we do in the middle of our trial?

First, with the help and guidance of the Bible and the Holy Spirit, determine if your present trial is chastening for your disobedience in the past. Be honest with yourself and with God. Don’t try to hide it or deny it. Confess and repent. Turn away from your sin. Ask God to give you victory. Recognize that your trial might go on for a long time.

The converted alcoholic and drug addict cannot escape the consequences. The physical and medical repercussions may continue for the rest of his life.

Sexual sins, marital infidelity, foolishness, carelessness, etc., sometimes have life-long physical, mental, and emotional penalties. David suffered lifelong results from his sin, but he confessed his sin, sought the Lord, and was called a man after God’s own heart.

Second, if your problem is not chastening from the Lord, is God using your situation to move you into a new Christian service opportunity? Many Christians, hospitalized for illness, disease, or accident, have used that occasion to share Jesus with hospital staff and visitors.   I remember reading the story of one faithful Christian witness in a nation hostile to the gospel. He had been sentenced to prison because he refused to renounce Christ. Although he was very sorry to leave his family, he regarded prison as a new mission field. He would now be able to witness to other prisoners and to prison guards that, otherwise, he would never have met.

Third, what does the Lord want to teach you through this trial? For every Christian, God wants us to use these events to draw close and fully trust  Him through the ordeal. Does God want you to learn patience? Or joyfulness in the trial? Or persistent prayer? Or thankfulness? (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Or to quit complaining?

There could be many more reasons than what I have given. Take time to meditate and pray over this. Then commit your affliction to God, accept it, and learn what God has for you in this trial.

The writer  of Psalm  119 said in verse 75, I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.”  He accepted that God’s judgments were right. And God had afflicted him in faithfulness.

Perhaps one of the most dramatic illustrations of this Bible truth is the story of Joni Eareckson Tada. At age 17, Joni suffered injuries in a diving accident that left her quadriplegic. She already knew Christ as her Savior, but she had difficult battles with depression and then extensive rehab. The accident dramatically changed the direction of her life. She devoted her life to helping disabled people and has been a lifelong advocate for handicapped people. Joni never fails to tell people what Jesus has done for her. Her four-minute and one-minute radio programs portray her love for Jesus and her thankfulness for what Jesus has done. She testifies that God, in faithfulness, has afflicted her.

What God has done for Joni, for me, and countless other Christians, He can do for you.

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Your messages speaks volumes and I was touched by your personal story and the video of Joni’s testimony. (Also watched a second video at the end of the first where she had an interview with Larry King).
    I can identify with you about similar issues we have had throughout the 52 years of marriage the Lord has given us. God has been so gracious and I know that no matter our circumstances; He is faithful.
    As Joni expressed in her story, we learn of Him and find hope and excitement with His love for us but we still go astray and assume all is well. That He is going to make all things fit together for the things we want from Him instead of what He wants from us.
    We don’t get what we really deserve each time we are acting selfish and sinful. In His mercy He desires to correct us and not to harm us. In His patience He continues to call out to us showing His love for us.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and the truths that are written for our understanding.

  2. Hello Dale,

    Powerfully illuminating.

    Thank you so much for your strong yet poignant message.
    My heart goes out to you on the loss of your beloved wife. Your ability to illustrate to others through the word the nuances of God’s character and His purpose was done so masterfully, and with elegance and truthful ease.
    Thank you for the video that you’ve included, which was beyond inspirational.

    May God continue to shine His light onto your path.

    God Bless~

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