Answered Affliction

Jesus came for the afflicted. Those burdened, troubled, suffering, distressed, tormented, plagued.

I am one of those. You probably are too.

I share this very short, but startling excerpt of my personal walk, praying that you will be led to set your hope and your heart in Christ. To fear the Lord and to cry out to him in your affliction. Because HE HEARS. He heard my heart, and he answered me in my affliction. When I entrusted and laid before him my worries, my fears, my desires – He came to me.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

It is important to note that ‘answered’ affliction does not mean that we are guaranteed relief. Instead, “we do not lose heart” (2 Cor. 4:1,16), “for this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen”  (2 Cor. 4:17-8).

The answer I received came in the form of a reminder, “to rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). 

There is relief from grief – for the Lord is constant. He is unfading and unchanging. And his joy is our strength. HIS JOY. In him we can rejoice. So let us be careful to find ourselves in him (1 Corinthians 10:12). To remain in him. To abide in him. For in him is peace (Phil.4:7). A peace that guards our hearts and minds. An answer to our affliction when all our own guards have fallen down.

It feels like I’m torn in pieces.

There are two tugging desires within me.

In choosing one, I sacrifice the other.

And in sacrifice is loss.

This feeling is all too familiar.

The feeling of grief, sorrow…mourning.

A sleepiness. Laziness?

A helplessness. Emptiness.

There is no adequate word to describe it.

Have I made the right choice?

Am I meant to be here?

Is there such a thing as destiny?

Where am I destined to be?

What purpose has God determined for me.

What is he preparing me for.

I do not know myself what I want.

I avoid, deny, ignore the things that scare me.

I don’t even bother questioning. I patch over the holes.

Am I floating?

Underneath there is so many air bubbles.

How will they be free? How can I escape me?

I see the empowering relationship between others.

I see Jesus’ life being spoken, breathed. And here I am, in my idolatry.

Taking control through the familiar faculties. Fighting with what I know.

Old triggers are firing daggers in the depths of me.

I am run down, yet persevering.

It is only God’s strength that upholds me.

He is my solid ground, when I am so shaky.

So so shaky.

The unknown is scary.

There is so much coming.

Now is the true test of trust.

This time next week I need a bed. This time in a month I will already need to be in a house. And all the while, structurally and socially my life has not just gone out the window, it has broken the window and I am the tiny shards of glass trying to reflect Christ’s glory. When my brokenness is showing, it is probably better than being a faulty, stitched up window.

I can’t hold appearance anymore.

I need to be real, raw.

Who can I confide in?

Who can redirect me from my own stumbling and idolatry?

I am off to Church, because I need my Saviour.

I am crumbling, exhausted.

I want to be in two places at once.

I saw all the photos from a gathering and found myself yearning to be there… questioning why I am here, working.

Am I being led astray by these worldly worries and not cherishing those who centre me in Christ?

Fellowship encourages us to remain firm in our faith. 

I went to Church this day, crying. No one would have known though. I walked in, wiped my eyes, and put on a smile. And why? Not as an act. Not to hide. But because I was welcomed. As I heard another’s hearts cries, I had a deep joy inside. I was communing with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I set my gaze on the God who is sovereign, who is great, who is holy, and who we can hold fast to. I came away, gripping onto grace, knowing that I am saved, that I am loved, and that Christ is more than enough.

For personal reflection:

  • Isaiah 53 (the suffering servant)
  • John 14:1-14
  • Thy Will‘ – Hillary Scott & The Scott Family
  • Psalm 42, 88, 147

Respond from the Heart