ADVERSITIES, AFFLICTIONS AND ATTITUDES

Raymond Elliott

We are often overwhelmed with the adversities in life that are very difficult to accept and hard to understand. At the moment, it seems that all is loss, that life is not worth living and that our sorrow is too much to bear. No doubt, Job felt this way when he experienced the tragedies in his life. The problem is with our perception of matters. We deal more with the immediate and not the overall view of life. That which is seemingly against us at the present may, in fact, work out for our good. The Psalmist declared, “Before I was afflicted I went astray; But now I observe thy word.” Again he writes, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; That I may learn thy statutes” (Psalms 119:67,71). The Psalmist had lived long enough beyond his traumatic experiences to grasp the significance of his sorrows. Not all men are able to perceive the silver lining amidst the clouds of despair. As finite beings, we are so limited in our knowledge and we often fail to grasp the ultimate reasons for our conflicts and sorrows in life. In contrast, the infinite Heavenly Father, who is from everlasting to everlasting, is able to see the panoramic scene; and, in His great providence, He is powerful enough to ultimately work out everything for our eternal welfare (Romans 8:28). It is a real challenge to our faith in God to seek the lessons to be learned from our failures, injuries and our losses in life. It isn’t necessary that we fully comprehend nor is it even possible that we always understand the tragedies that we may experience; but, it is important that we trust in God, knowing that He cares for us and that He can overcome evil with good. In all his grief, Job expressed himself in this manner, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him…” (Job 13:15 KJV).

Let us remember that afflictions, sicknesses, tragedies and death come to all men, saints and sinners. It is important therefore that the children of God understand that it is our acceptance of these experiences and our attitude toward them that distinguishes us from the people of the world who manifest no faith or trust in the providence of God. The unbeliever’s heart is often hardened when calamities come his way. In contrast, the believer’s heart is made more sensitive and responsive to God’s design and purpose in the perplexities of life. We are like small children in our understanding and we should place our trust in our Heavenly Father even as David when he wrote in Psalms 131: “Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too wonderful for me. Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in Jehovah from this time forth and for evermore.” We all have no doubt heard the expression, “The same sun that melts ice, hardens clay.” Adversities, sorrows and heartaches in life will have different effects on various people. It depends largely on the recipient. In John 6: 66-69, after some hard sayings of Jesus we read, “Upon this many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Jesus said therefore unto the twelve, Would ye also go away? Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy one of God.” Disciples of Jesus who really trust in Him have no one else in whom they can find refuge and strength in the times of trouble in this life. So, whatever sorrows and afflictions may occur in life, it is to Jesus that we must go. He is the great physician and there is healing in His wings.