Archive for the ‘Afflictions’ Category


Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Day 260

“And these three men, firmly tied,
fell into the blazing furnace”
Daniel 3:1-30

It is a well-known story: Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego refused to bow before King Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold that he had made. The King also had given an order that anyone not falling down to worship the image would be thrown into a blazing furnace. He was so furious over the three men’s refusal that he ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. The three were bound with their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes on and thrown in the furnace by three of the strongest soldiers. The three soldiers were killed when they threw the three men in the furnace because the flames were so hot

Viewing the fierce fire, the King saw four men walking around; unbound and unharmed. He approached the furnace and called them out. The account tells us they were not harmed and “there was no smell of smoke on them.” The King then gave recognition and honor to God, and promoted the three men.

There are many trials and tribulations in life. Note that God intervened only after the flames surrounded them. God did not save them from accusation, sentencing, and being cast into the flames. Christ did not come to Lazarus’ bedside when he was sick. He died and then Christ came and raised him from the dead. In both incidents, there was a greater purpose in the suffering. We seek God’s intervention the minute we enter a crises, but He responds when He responds, which is in His time. In the end, He is there with us and His glory will be seen.

“When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze”
Isaiah 43:2


Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Day 200

“My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength
of my heart and my portion forever”
Psalm 73:26

Tribulations are part of life. From physical to mental, many things can assault us in the course of a day. For many, relationships are an area of suffering. These affect our family, work, social, and life in general. Surprisingly, being a Christian does not exempt us from these life’s difficulties.

What most of us do, how we react under these circumstances, is to draw on our strength. Human nature has an amazing capacity to handle adversity in life. The problem is it is self-strength. The reaction is to the self. Asaph, the psalmist, said that when his flesh and heart failed, God was His strength. In his weakness, it was God who empowered and kept him. When all else had failed, he came to understand that he could only live in God’s strength. When He is our strength, we can trust Him. When we trust ourselves it is self-strength,.

When Joshua attacked Ai (in his own strength), he suffered a great defeat. He turned to the Lord and repented. The Lord said, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,” and Joshua became victorious so that not one man was left in Ai. When David was assaulted by His enemies, He turned to the Lord who delivered him from all his enemies. David declared, “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (2 Samuel 22:33). Our Father desires to deliver us today from all our enemies and take us through adversity in victory. Self-strength will bring discouragement, fear and defeat. His strength makes our way perfect.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth
give way and the mountains fall into the sea, though
its waters roar and foam and the mountain quake
with their surging . . . The Lord Almighty is
with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Psalm 46


Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Day 161

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous;
But the Lord delivers him out of them all”
Psalm 34:19

Sometimes we do not always comprehend the depth of what God’s word conveys to us. Take, for instance, afflictions. It is our nature to want to be free from afflictions and when they happen, we look to God to get us out right away! What is missing here is not knowing our Father and how He interacts with us. What better place is there than His word to witness His character and nature?

David experienced God in the midst of severe afflictions. It was through these experiences he learned of God’s faithfulness to deliver His children. And it led David to declare it in this Psalm, “But the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Think about it; the Lord delivers the righteous out of all afflictions. Do you understand the implication? There isn’t any affliction you go through that the Lord will not deliver you out of. The promise isn’t keeping you from them, but delivering you out of them – taking you through them victoriously. What a promise!

The promise is more extensive than being delivered out of the afflictions. He will deliver you from all your fears! He will hear your cry and will turn on your enemies. And He will draw near you to comfort you. You shall be preserved. This is our God and this is His eternal promise to all of us who love Him.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
And saves those who are crushed in spirit”
Psalm 34:18


Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Day 127

“Behold, a throne”
Revelation 4:2

Our affairs rest in the hands of God. Not men, employers, government, or circumstances. God is sovereign and is in complete control. There is not one thing that happens in your life that is not permitted by God. You are His child and you belong to Him. If tribulation, trials, and travail enter your life, it is there by His permission. There is a purpose for everything in the life of a child of God.

A large segment of the Church today is suffering persecution throughout the world. From burning churches to the ground, severe beatings of brethren, imprisonment and torture, to the bold murdering of native pastors and missionaries, there are more martyrs today than in the early church. Much of the western world is insulated from these realities. But the realty is a suffering and persecuted church.

In the midst of personal and church fiery trials there stands a Throne for all to see. “God reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits above the cherubim; let the earth be moved” [Psalm 99:1]. The Throne is the center of the universe. Almighty God rules from here. Nothing is excluded from His rule. He sits in the midst of the Holy of Holies ruling His kingdom. Look to the Throne for our God will prevail in all things and He is with us to the end.

“And the Lamb shall overcome them”
Revelation 17:14


Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Day 77

“Who is this coming up from the
wilderness, leaning on her beloved”
Song of Songs 8:5

Every true Christian has a wilderness experience: a period of time during which temptation, trouble, or travail test us. It can even be a long period during which God’s presence seems to be absent in our lives. The wilderness is marked by its dryness; a place of little or no life. It has a sense of abandonment about it.

The children of Israel experienced the wilderness for forty years. The normal two week journey took 39 years and 50 weeks longer because of what was in their hearts. Their time of testing revealed their hearts and in the end they could not enter the place God prepared for them. During those years the Lord raised up a new generation that took possession of the land.

Job also had wilderness experience that brought great suffering and accusation of sin by his friends. But in the end, Job came to know God in way he had not before. Elijah carried out God’s work as a prophet and then spent a few years in a wilderness setting. It tested his faith. David was anointed King of Israel, but spent a lengthy time in the wilderness being pursued by Saul, who wanted to kill him. Great character building took place during these times.

God is in the wilderness. He is in the deep valleys. He is in the night and dark places. He is there even though we may not sense His presence, or even believe He is there. Because He is sovereign and controls all things, He is the One who permits our wilderness experiences. And His one and only purpose is that we come out of the wilderness leaning on His breast, the breast of our Lover.

“Even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You”
Psalm 139:12


Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Day 76

“I had heard about You before,
but now I have seen You with my own eyes”
Job 42:5

Seeing God as He is – truly knowing Him – is a life- transforming experience. To see God means to know Him, and to know Him is to experience Him. We can read and understand things about God, but it is only through relationship and deep experiences (usually difficult ones) that we come to this knowledge. Seeing God in His greatness and glory transforms lives.

God does allow His righteous people to undergo suffering. We like to have things run smoothly and to have peace all around us. Travails and difficulties are not welcome, and we see hard times as bad times. But God sees things differently. His purpose is for us to grow, mature and come to the fullness of Christ. And often this involves travail.

God allowed a series of disasters to afflict Job through the agency of Satan. To add to his misery, he had three friends counseling him to abandon his faith in God. It couldn’t have been a worse situation. And then to top it off, God rebuked Job. And God did not explain why Job underwent travail. He didn’t discuss His purpose with Satan. Instead, Job was made aware of his finite nature and how fallible he was. Then God revealed Himself and His sovereignty to Job, and Job saw God through his suffering. He knew God. Should this not be the cry of our hearts – to know Him more fully?

“The Lord gave him twice as much before . . . So
the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his
life even more than in the beginning”
Job 42:10b, 12


Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Day 72

“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not
lead them on the road . . . that was the shortest
way from Egypt to the Promised Land”
Exodus 13:17

God led the Israelites on a road that trapped them between the wilderness and the Red Sea. Pharaoh came after the Israelites with everything he had – his entire army of horses, chariots, and charioteers were committed to the chase. It wasn’t long before he caught up to the Israelites, and when they saw Pharaoh’s army approaching they began to panic and cry out to the Lord for help.

It got worse. Being caught with a sea to your back, and the only way of escape occupied by an army that wants to crush you, can strike fear in your heart. To the Israelites, it looked like the end. They turned against Moses, accusing him of leading them there to die. Things got bitter and they lost hope. How many times have we faced situations in our life that looked like the end? The great test of our character comes when we can find no answers, and see the absolute end of everything approaching.

But those Israelites were led into the impossible by God. He positioned them where they would find no answers. They believed they were going to die; it can’t get worse than that! But it was all for God’s purposes, because He is the answer, and only He could rescue them. And in the end, they did not have to lift a finger in their defense. This is our God: the God of the impossible. And He loves nothing more than to demonstrate His glory by rescuing us from the impossible.

“Don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and
watch the Lord rescue you. . . . You won’t
have to lift a finger in your defense”
Exodus 14:13-14


Sunday, March 14th, 2010

DAY 28

“Who comforts us in all our afflictions”
2 Corinthians 1:4

There is something extraordinary about God. The disciples took a boat journey that turned into a nightmare when a vicious storm hit them. Jesus saw them in distress and calmed the storm. Then He did something else, something extraordinary – He got in the boat to comfort them!

That is who God is – our Comforter. His name means “to come alongside; to strengthen”. Paul said that God comforts us in all our afflictions. His comfort is an assurance of His love and sovereign goodness in the midst of our suffering. It is His peace, hope, and joy in the midst of suffering. God strengthens us so that we can overcome hardship when we encounter it in our lives.

His comfort is for all kinds of suffering. It may be suffering the consequences of a fallen world, our own sins, or others’ sins against us, sickness, financial failure, marital problems, employment needs or suffering in serving Christ. We are not exempt from suffering, and there is a reason that God permits suffering in our lives. Paul tells us, “…this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).

His comfort is given so that we will learn and know Him, and then we may in turn comfort our brethren in their need.

“As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you”
Isaiah 66:13