God doesn’t afflict us or allow us to be afflicted for no reason.
He has wonderful purposes for all he does in us. God is the great artist who produces the ultimate masterpieces — sons and daughters in the likeness of his Son, Jesus Christ. So he makes every stroke of the Master’s brush, every tap of the Sculptor’s chisel, count.
So in God’s plan, afflictions have great benefit to us, as painful as they are at times.
If we keep these benefits in mind when we suffer, they can help us endure joyfully.
1. Afflictions deliver us from pride.
Paul said God gave him his grievous thorn “to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations” 2 Corinthians 12:7.
2. Afflictions make us sympathetic, merciful and slower to judge.
If you’ve suffered the fury of depression, you won’t assume that others who are depressed are in sin. If you’ve been grieved by a rebellious teen, you’ll be quick to sympathize with other struggling parents.
3. Afflictions remind us of the brevity of this life and make us long for heaven where our true treasure is.
“When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, ‘It is good to be here!’” — John Newton.
4. Afflictions stir us to pray and keep us dependent on God.
Too many days of continuous sunshine, and we can forget how much we need the Lord. But as thunderstorms make us run for shelter, so afflictions make us to run to our Refuge and Strength, and cry out like David, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted” Psalm 25:16.