Christian Suffering and Affliction
During times of Christian suffering and affliction, one is quick to become depressed, anxious, saddened or angry that we feel we can’t change our current state. Feelings of despair may creep in, even during our average day. Imagining someone who is depressed usually entails a couch and a pint of ice cream. Not so. Even those you never expected can become their own worst enemy. Look around you. Those who sometimes look the happiest are those who carry the most affliction. At bottom, or drifting downward, many tend to wonder about God, and ask themselves where God is or if He’s listening, watching or even caring about what we are facing. It is easy to look to the biggest source for an answer. But what happens when you think He’s nowhere to be found?
Ask yourself at that moment just how many things you’ve thanked Him for lately. We tend to go to God and ask Him for favors, one after the other. Many unknowingly assume that prayer is for either begging or thanking Him for a meal. But what about the other stuff?
So much goes on around us, but even moreso, have you ever wondered what’s going on across the ocean, state or world? Have you thought of the abuse many are facing, the financial woes, the loss of employment, the broken marriages, the lack of food, and widespread sickness? Have you thought of a person who may have just lost a child, or a child who may have just lost their only parent? It sounds depressing, and this is not a guilt trip requesting that you forget your problems and think solely of others. This is a moment to awaken your senses to see the broad spectrum. We are many, yet we are one in the challenges we face; each with a different dilemma or trauma. How is God looking down on this? And how are you looking upon God while this is happening to you as well as the rest of the world?
Praise During Affliction
Praise must be given at all times, even during Christian suffering and affliction. It is it’s most meaningful when we are facing such affliction, and praise Him for that which we do have. Christ grants our prayers the most when it is the world’s suffering the we bring to mind, and express our appreciation for our current blessings. While it may sound cliché, it cannot be ignored that we often don’t know what we really have until we see someone with not even a fraction. Do you have a roof over your head? Simple as it sounds, not everyone does. Thank God for His provision in helping you to sustain that place to live. Thank Him that while you may have ailments, there are people who face the same ailments or worse, who cannot obtain help, or even a listening ear. Many are alone, and virtually incapable of having or finding a thing to smile about. Not so much as a knock on the door from a neighbor may be heard, and time may be running out for them. We know that through this, the Lord will take care of this person. We know this and we would tell others who suggested such a scenario, that God knows His sheep, and He will not allow their suffering to be endured.
Go about your day seeking hope. Ask that God give you extra faith, and remove this aching you feel, not just partially, but completely. Thank Him for such precious gifts as those He has given you. Perhaps even your affliction is a gift, while you may not know it yet. The Lord knows, sees and hears all. Perhaps thanking Him is something you’ve done many times. Have you really though? When was the last time you thanked Him for the things you had as a child? Simple as it may sound, the clothes on your back are worth the gratitude that is owed to God.
Lifetime Reflection Self Examination
Think back, as far as you can. Be in silence and recall as many things as you can that you’re thankful for. It can be people entering into your life and teaching you something, or it can be the time you spent with loved ones as a child. Think of your childhood, your teen years, and through adulthood.Were there things you received that you may not have thanked God for? What about the bad things that happened, that you now see more clearly? Did God pull you out of a bad situation that happened years ago? Have you reminded yourself that there is no time limit in thanking God for the gifts he gave you years ago?
What could you thank Him for, which you are sure He will see to in the future? This is where Faith comes in. Faith is revealed at it’s strongest when you are willing to thank God for not just today’s food, but also the food that you know He will provide next year. He has loved you enough thus far, and His love will continue as He promised.
In all things, praise His name. Think about what you truly have and recognize the blessings. While it’s ok to continue to ask for things, there is no prayer like a submissive prayer of humility and praise, even in the midst of Christian suffering and affliction.