Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. Ps. 34:19
How can righteous suffer; indeed, why must he be afflicted at all? That should not be since the righteous is supposed to be in God’s favor. But this scripture says otherwise. Indeed, the Bible says that the afflictions of the righteous are many. Why this state of affairs?
In Africa, during harvest time, the farmers thresh their produce, to remove the grain and store it, and to burn the chaff. God afflicts us because He wants to bring out the spiritual treasure that is in us. If you want wine, you have to press the grapes, right? In the same manner, God wants to show off the treasure in us, and there is no other way that He can do this apart from scrubbing us and whittling away at us, that the ‘gold’ in us may shine forth.
We have such treasure in us! But we are hardly aware of it. But we have gold in us.
When we have the fruit of the Spirit in us –
“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Eph. 5:22) –
… that is the treasure that God wants to show off to the world.
I have heard worldly preachers say that God wants to reveal riches like Bentleys, Rolls Royces and million-dollar mansions. But no. Those things do not comprise the heavenly riches. Actually, they are the height of spiritual poverty for when these things grasp your heart, that is the end of you spiritually.
God’s riches, the riches that He wants to show forth to the world in and through us, are the fruit of the Spirit. Those are the spiritual riches.
And so, therefore, God allows afflictions into our lives that they may press us and through this pressing the true heavenly riches in us will show forth.
The perfect example is Jesus. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:22-24:
“22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
And, in Isaiah 53:7, it says of Jesus:
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
It is clear that Jesus was afflicted! He was reviled; and He suffered. But He wouldn’t utter a word. Jesus opened not His mouth!
Now, not opening our mouths when we are reviled is not easy. Actually, it is very difficult. The minute we hear something against us, our mouths begin moving even before the reviler has finished saying whatever they want to say about us!
But we have such riches in Christ Jesus. Imagine Jesus, He
“reviled not again”.
“when he suffered, he threatened not”.
That is not easy. Sometimes we may do nothing, but in our hearts we end up doing so much!
But we have such riches in us! That is why God allows us to be afflicted. When we are afflicted, these riches show forth. The fruit in us gives forth its aroma.
And if the fruit has not formed yet, afflictions will serve to show us our need for repentance and drive us to desire a greater work of the cross in our lives. There is so much work that afflictions accomplish in a believer’s life. In a word, suffering produces grace. There is no grace without suffering. That is why the Apostle Paul preached the cross before he would talk of grace.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
The word “temptation” here is the same word “affliction” that David used in Psalm 34.We will be tempted. We will be tried. We will be afflicted if we are true children of God. But God’s hand will be upon us and He will not allow any trial or affliction to overcome us. He will make a way, a way of grace for us to walk in victory through every affliction.