Afflict (verb) to distress with continual suffering.
Affliction (noun) the state of being afflicted – great distress of the body or mind. Great suffering.
We see an example of affliction in the life of Job.
Job’s response to God after he had gone through his afflictions of “great distress and suffering of his body and mind”, he said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” (Job 42:5). Before his affliction, he had head knowledge but after his affliction, he had heart knowledge. Adversity changed his heart.
There are two ways to handle affliction.
One is to run toward God and the second is to run away from Him. What do you think you would do?
What were the afflictions Job suffered?
• All his livestock was stolen
• All but one of his field hands were murdered
• All his camels were stolen (his method of commercial trade)
• All but one of his camel drivers were killed
• The house his children were in was destroyed, and
• All of his children were killed
• All but one of his children’s servants were killed
This is what happened to Job in the first chapter of the book. What next?
“So, Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.” (Job 2:7)
Job’s wife encouraged him to curse God and die. (Job 2:9)
• He was browbeaten by his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar who told him he was “self-righteous” and didn’t have faith.
During all of the above, God was preparing Job for the vision.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. (Psalm 9:18) Job never lost his hope – he expected God to deliver him. “Though He slays me, yet will I hope in Him.” (Job 13:15)
He may have had times of confusion and he was constantly distressed but he held onto his hope in a sovereign God. We must always remember that while going through affliction, we always have hope in God. We can always trust Him for his divine deliverance.
“Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75)
According to Romans 12:12 we are always to rejoice in hope, always be patient in tribulation and continue in our steadfastness through and by prayer.
The best example of one who has been afflicted and prepared for the vision is our Messiah Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 53:4 – 7 “Surely He has borne our grief’s and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes, we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”
Since the Garden of Eden, God has had a vision for the redemption of His creation through His Son Jesus.
The first mention of this vision is in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” The fulfillment of that vision is found in Mark chapter 15:20 – 28:
“And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him. Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS. With Him, they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. So, the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.”
From the beginning, in Genesis, God was always at work always going forward to this moment! The verses above, although not the entire story of His great affliction, tell us of the progress toward the fulfillment of the vision going on to its reality. Mark 16:1 – 6 tells us that God’s vision and His suffering is the fulfillment of His vision spoken of and promised in Genesis 3:15.
“Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away–for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”
Jesus has RISEN! His Redemption is complete
Prayer during our times of affliction will bring us closer to God. As we pray, we become closer to the vision God has for us. As you pray, pray that His vision will become yours.
What is the vision God has given you? What afflictions are you suffering while waiting, like Job, to understand?
In our affliction, by faith, we should seek God praying we will see with our spiritual eyes of understanding. Think about Job! He never lost sight of his vision, his trust in a sovereign God – the Master and Creator of the Universe! And…at the end, God restored to Job everything that had been taken away.
“And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yokes of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters.” Job 42:10, 12, 13
Think about Job and keep trustin’! God has your back.