When adversity comes, knocks, strikes, and hits down your door
My husband and I recently made a beautiful ascent into Jerusalem onto the Mount of Olives (where Jesus’ feet will one day land) that descended past the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed before His afflictions and crucifixion. The steep path led into the Kidron Valley that led up to the Eastern Gate through which He will return to the city.
I’ve documented our trip with images and explanations on my Facebook page: C.R.O.W.N. Calling Real Ordinary [Wo]men NOW. That’s about all I’ve done business/ministry wise in the last four months since we left for Israel in October.
We soon learned that a descending of afflictions into the valley follows an ascending
Jerusalem is a city built on the mountains. So, to go out from Jerusalem, the disciples had to go down. They had to go down the mountain. So, to send them out from Jerusalem was to send them down from Jerusalem. Just as important as it is to ascend the mountain is to descend it. In fact, that’s the direction of ministry . . . down the mountain (Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, (Charisma House Book Group 2016, pg. 325).
Our traveling plans were to return home through Germany to see our daughter and family at their Army post. She had warned us that they were on the top fourth floor of their apartment building. They had missed getting into a house four months prior when they moved there. But it didn’t matter that they had no elevator, because Jim and I were both afflicted that whole week.
After arriving home, I discovered I had double pneumonia; Jim had ear and sinus problems. Six weeks after I recovered, I was able to care for my sister who had a hip replacement and get ready for Christmas for our children. A couple days later, I went for a walk and then another sudden affliction hit me…a complication from the pneumonia which put me on a breathing machine three times per day for thirty days. Today is the first day off that contraption!
During this trying time, I tried to pray which was hard since energy was out the door. But, one morning I heard in my spirit, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” How encouraging that was! I looked it up in my Bible:
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart; and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:18-19 NKJV).
What is the Definition of Affliction?
To afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain and suffering. To afflict means to cast down; to strike; humble; overthrow; to distress so severely as to cause persistent suffering or anguish; trouble; injure; torment.
Afflictions are the state of being afflicted; the cause of persistent pain or distress; great suffering.
What strikes me about this definition is that a “cast sheep” is one that has turned over on its back due to outside sources. Because it’s heavy with lamb and wool, it cannot turn over on its own. Without the shepherd’s help, it will die. To be enlightened how we are like sheep, go to>> Sheep of the Lord and Jehovah Rohi
Where Do Afflictions Come From and Why?
The Bible shows where adversity comes from and why most clearly in the book and story of Jōb.
Jōb lived in the land of Uz with his wife, seven sons and three daughters. He was a righteous man, who was blameless, honored God and shunned evil. He was blessed by God with material wealth: seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants.
One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”
Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”
God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Jōb? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”
Satan retorted, “So do you think Jōb does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him and his family or his possessions, bless everything he does— he can’t lose!
“But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”
God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.”—Job 1:6-12 The Message
If you are going through a difficult time right now, you will want to go HERE to read this full story. The story of Jōb will help you like no other. It guided me at our most difficult days years ago. It shows what is going on behind the scenes where Satan brings disaster upon Jōb by taking away everything he owns except his wife. Eventually, his own body is struck with painful boils.
Job’s three ‘friends’ came to see him. They accused him and his adult children of sin and criticized him for days. Never did they pray for him.
Job gets so frustrated that he said, “I’m going directly to God for answers.” Of course, this is exactly what God wanted to hear >> The Story of Job.
We will look at four principles this story teaches us about suffering, adversity and afflictions, and what God is doing by filtering through His great big hands what Satan wants to bring against us––and how we can overcome.
Why Face Adversity?
Although Job was angry with his friends, one thing they did do was to put some fight into him. Would Job have given in to his afflictions and let them get the best of him if they had not troubled him more? We don’t know, but Job did learn to face his adversity. And, in doing so, He overcame.
Do you know of someone who lays down in the face of troubles and gives in to every blow that comes along and are always sick, having surgery or are perpetually distressed? They live by their emotions, and only what they can see, feel, taste, touch and only what the doctor says about them.
The first step to overcome is to face it by going to the Great Physician to see what He says about it, rather than what friends say. Facing adversity takes courage and means FIGHTING to overcome.
The Lord delivers those from afflictions who not only fight the spiritual battle, the good fight of faith, but they know God by knowing His Word; it’s not automatic and takes a lot of effort, but it’s so worth it.
Through Job’s story, we learn these four principles:
Afflictions Help Us See God and Know Who God Is
1. God is sovereign. We cannot understand his working through rational thinking alone.
When we want to ask, “Why God, why me?” we must remind ourselves that God sees the big picture of what He hopes to accomplish through our lives. Job took his complaints directly to God and God answered him. Bottom line: Job realized how small he was and how big God was and that there was a purpose in his whole ordeal.
The Lord had asked Job to listen to Him and give Him some answers. Listen closely to Job’s reply, for this is the purpose of all suffering: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6 NIV).
2. God’s will toward us is good – always God is good.
God really is near to those going through adversity. He always makes His presence known – when we are looking to Him and His word.
After many weeks of weakness, I pulled out my ARROWS SWORD & SHIELD (a 5 x 7 laminate) that I made after previous difficulties. I spoke these Scriptures over myself out loud declaring His promises as already fulfilled while thanking God for strength and healing although I didn’t feel like it.
The next morning during my one hour of computer time of scheduling pins for my Pinterest business, SEVEN times this Scripture crossed my vision:
God always cares and will communicate His care to his children.
3. Afflictions Bring Growth in Humility and Reveal His Divine Purposes
We can focus on our innocence and question God’s justice as Job did, or we can grow in humility and wait for God to reveal Himself and His purposes for us.
The Lord spoke to Job and answered his questions. Job replied, “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head” (Job 42:1-3 Msg).
Job found that God did not have a list of offenses against him, but his only offense was his complaints against God during the suffering. He knew God had to have had a purpose, and now he knew what it was: “I admit I once lived by rumors of you, now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!” (Job 42:5 Msg).
4. Afflictions Make Us Stronger and Build Character
The testing of our faith is an individual, personal testing.
At times uncontrollable forces will come against us. Family, friends, health, houses and job, and other sources of strength may be taken away leaving us seemingly ALONE in the battle. It’s in this ALONENESS, however, that we must hear God’s voice rather than the voice of others.
We must trust God alone to fill our voids and return us to victory. After Job did this, God asked him to pray for his friends; in doing so he had to forgive them, and Job was healed. God restored double to him of all he lost, and he was now on the road to be able to comfort others as he had been comforted by God alone (2 Cor. 1:4).
Who Can Overcome Afflictions?
We know the righteous will be delivered as Psalm 34: 19 says, but what about non-Christians? Does God hear their prayers, too? My friend Janice was married at seventeen years of age. Her husband tried unsuccessfully to drown her when she was pregnant. At the birth of her daughter, the doctor announced, “You will never take this baby home. She has only half a liver.”
But, Janice, not yet a Christian, did what James 5:13 says to do, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” She went out into the hallway to call her sister to pray for her. A woman appeared beside her and voiced the prayer over the phone. To read this miraculous story go HERE to learn how Jehovah Rapha healed her baby.
How Can Suffering and Afflictions be Overcome?
Barbara Watts suffered from multiple sclerosis. It hit her while she was witnessing to a friend. Her story shows how perseverance and the Word of God brought her miracle from this incurable disease. And it all happened in a church that did not believe in divine healing. Here is her story of faith>> What Does the Mature Bride Look Like?
God is Jehovah Rapha [The Lord our Healer]. Over and over again I’ve seen miracles of healing from my past, in our marriage and with our children––mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Here is my story of learning about faith and how to pray for family and friends: Because God is Jehovah-Rapha I Am Healed
What Current Afflictions Are Teaching Me
I’ve realized that my old habit of a performance mentality is not dead. Early in my marriage, I unknowingly felt I needed to work to gain God’s approval and was unable to see myself as God saw me. I’ve written about that in My Red Umbrella Story.
With all that needs to be done with a Web site and business/ministry, I’ve lately let that wrong attitude gain mastery in my life at the exclusion of other more important things.
Over these last few months, and without ‘my’ help, God has demonstrated that He doesn’t need my help (but he wants me and loves me). He has brought a 279% increase in traffic to my site with six times more organic browser searches. If I’d not been absolutely prevented from writing more posts and doing other ‘marketing’ things I would not have known that.
I’ve determined not to make any more deadlines of my time with the Lord so I can “get on the computer.” I will not merely throw a kiss to Jesus from a distance, and I commit myself to spend more time with Him in His Word and in prayer.
I’ve repented and made a quality decision to do only what He says when He says and how He says––having descended the mountain into the valley where other people are.
Revelation 2:2-5 (NKJV)
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot [b]bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
“Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
May I Pray with You?
I’m closing with more Scriptures about affliction, but if you’d like me to pray with you, please post a comment below.
Scriptures about Afflictions:
Psalm 34:17-20 ESV
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Romans 8:18 ESV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 5:3-4 ESV
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Psalm 119:71 ESV
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
James 5:11 ESV
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
Psalm 22:24 ESV
For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.