Verses for the Afflicted

I thought it might be helpful if I posted some verses about affliction (definition: grievous pain or trouble) and how the Bible describes its purpose. You’ll note that the Bible doesn’t view affliction as always being bad, or as a punishment, it consistently describes difficulty as a way to refine us, to teach us, and that good can be brought out of what seems like a bad situation. That is not to lessen how awful such affliction can be – but to offer a purpose, a plan, as it says in Jeremiah

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Onto the Scripture. The version used is the NIV 2011:

1. Affliction is not always the result of our sin, God often sends it to purify and strengthen our faith, and for his glory.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7)

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:1-3)

2. Even the most godly can be tried, like Job, who lost his possessions and his children.

See Job 1:1-22.

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1:1)

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8)

3. Job did not get angry with God, but accepted his trouble by faith and worshipped God.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”  In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20-22)

4. Sometimes God sends us trouble in order to develop our patience.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

5. The psalmist gave thanks for his affliction, and said that it taught him to keep God’s laws.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. (Psalm 119:67-8)

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. (Psalm 119:71-2)

I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. (Psalm 119:75-6)

6. We must not make light of God’s discipline, neither must we lose heart because of it.

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)

7. Sometimes God disciplines in order to promote holiness.

See Hebrews 12:5-11.

They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:10-11)

8. God disciplined and tried his people on the journey to the promised land in order to teach them.

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. (Deuteronomy 8:2-5)

9. God tried his people at Marah, where he turned the bitter water sweet and gave a time of refreshment at Elim.

See Exodus 15:22-27

Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. There the LORD issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. (Exodus 15:25)

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.  (Exodus 15:27)

10. Speaking to the lukewarm church, Jesus declared that he disciplines those he loves.

See Revelation 3:14-22 (letter to the church at Laodicea)

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:19-20)

11. Paul was given a thorn in his flesh, although he prayed for it to be taken away it was to be a permanent affliction. God promised that his grace would always be sufficient.

…or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

12. In everything God works for our good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

13. God will not give us more than we can bear.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

14. We can’t always figure out what God’s plan for us is.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)

15. King Hezekiah praised God for his loving discipline.

See Isaiah 38:15-19

But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. (Isaiah 38:15)

Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. (Isaiah 38:17)

16. We can rejoice in our sufferings, which produce perseverance.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

17. God blesses those who persevere.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

18. Our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory to come.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

19. Paul says he suffered so that he might learn to rely more on God.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)

20. Paul says God always has and always will deliver him.

He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:10-11)

21. At times we suffer so that our faith may be purified, that Christ might be honoured and glorified.

These [all kinds of trials] have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, (1 Peter 1:7-8)

22. In the times of trouble we can experience God’s protection and still praise him.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. (Psalm 27:5-6)

23. Paul and Silas sang praises to God even while they suffered.

See Acts 16:16-28 (Paul and Silas were severely flogged, put in prison and their feet put in stocks)

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)

24. While Paul was in prison at Rome, he still rejoiced.

See Philippians 1:12-26

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. (Philippians 1:12-14)

25. Although Paul suffered in many ways, he did not lose heart. 

See 2 Corinthians 4:8-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

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I hope you find this useful. Some parts I struggle with, others inspire me. I want to say with Paul, one day, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”, even through the trials and tribulations I have experienced.

Comments

  1. Awesome list! When we suffer and struggle, especially for long periods, it is difficult to see God at work. Yet He is. We can trust He’s in the very process of using what feels like bad for our good and the greater good God has in mind. Blessings on your journey.

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