At first glance, the title for this devotional appears to be a contradiction in terms. Affliction is something most sane people eagerly seek to avoid. No right thinking person goes after sorrow. Enough comes uninvited, so why look for more?
How can we say that it is a blessing to have sorrow in life? Is this not some form of double talk? Can this really make any sense at all? I am afraid many Christians do not really understand the spiritual truth that only the road of suffering leads to eternal life.
Well meaning Christian teachers in modern churches would have us believe that Jesus is the cure for all of life's difficulties. All we need to do is open our hearts to Him and all will be well.
We are told that a loving God would never desire that His people suffer. Yet, the Bible is full of instruction on the benefits of suffering in this life. Our verse for today is just one of many that say our faithful God will bring affliction on all whom He loves.
We only need to look at the cross to see that suffering brings incredible and eternal blessing. Through the unspeakable sorrows of our sinless Lord Jesus comes the richest possible blessing on sinners.
The Psalmist tells us that as a faithful Creator God afflicts His people. In other words God would not be holy and just if sorrow did not come upon His children. True to His character, God brings us under chastising as it is recorded in Hebrews 12:5-11.
In fact, if the Lord does not chastise us it is proof that we are not His children. Every Christian needs corrective intervention by the Lord or else we would wander off the straight and narrow way of life.
It is well known by psychologists that the most well balanced, happy children are those who are corrected by their parents rather than the children whose every whim is indulged by misguided parents.
The Lord is too loving a parent to allow us to be ruined through being spoiled. His gift to every child of His is the blessing of affliction.
Never seek affliction. But when it comes from the loving hand of God, thank Him that He cares enough for you to use adversity to guide you into the way of righteousness. Then you too will be able to say, "...in faithfulness you have afflicted me."