“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (MSG)
God wants us to enjoy our everyday lives. When it looks as if things are falling apart trust that God knows what He is doing in your life and that there are greater things ahead. These light afflictions are working for you and not against you for a greater weight of glory yet to be revealed! God’s unfolding grace is working all things together for your good. Better days are coming!
Our afflictions last but for a moment, yet in the midst of them it may seem like forever. When we understand that they are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, we are able to trust God’s plan for our lives . Don’t lose heart, our inner man is being renewed day by day. If we are going to be strong on the inside and have hope and joy, we are going to have to be renewed day by day in the midst of our trials.
The Greek word for affliction is thlipsis which means to press or to apply pressure. It is used of a narrow place that “hems someone in”; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined (restricted, “without options”). (Strong’s Concordance 2347). Affliction can be anything that burdens the spirit – tribulation, distress, anguish and suffering. These things are a part of every day Christian life, something that we have all experienced, are experiencing or will experience at some point in time.
When it comes to suffering and pain, none of us are immune. We may feel hemmed in when going through trials and tribulation without any options breaking free, but your affliction and struggles are working out for you and not against you. Precious gems, silver, gold and other valuable metals are all created under extreme pressure. Some may take hundreds of years, some have to be heated and some have to be hammered, but all have to be put under great stress in order to become beautiful in the eyes of the Beholder. God in His infinite wisdom puts us in His furnace of affliction to create His image in us.
Jesus left us an example by suffering for us. He committed Himself to God (1 Peter 2:21-24). Committing yourself and your circumstances to God may not be as easy as it sounds, but it is the only way to get through whatever trial you are suffering. I can tell you that through my experience having been divorced, jobless, and countless other trials in the past 23 years, that in most cases I struggled! God proved Himself faithful time after time. I finally learned to commit whatever I was going through to Him. It takes time to learn to trust Him and commit our trials and tribulations to Him. When we learn to rely on Him and not what we think or our own understanding of things then He will take over the situation and carry you through your circumstance.
Acts 14:22 says, “”We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” I am encouraged by Paul’s words. How could that be encouraging? When I consider Paul’s afflictions in comparison to what I go through, there is no comparison. Jesus instructed us to count the cost of becoming a disciple, for “in the world you will have tribulation; but, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Following Him may mean we lose relationships, dreams, material things, or even our lives.
We are blessed when we remain steadfast under trial. When we have stood the test we will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12). More than that, we can rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5).
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, God’s grace, favor and loving-kindness and mercy is enough when we are going trials and hardships. Don’t run away from Him, but run to Him in the process!
Dr. Francine is an ordain minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has a radio broadcast called “Going Beyond Church” on World Power Gospel Radio (WPGR). You can listen live by phone 712-775-8151. Connect with Dr. Francine on Facebook at @afrancinegreen as well as on Twitter @beyond_2017. Visit her website at http://www.beyondchurchwalls.com.