Summary: What is affliction and how are we as followers of Jesus supposed to react to those around us who are afflicted?
Today let’s talk about Affliction:
1) a state of pain, distress, grief or misery:
2) a cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution.
You know from your own life experiences what affliction is.
If you have never experienced affliction you are a very rare person indeed.
Let me give you an example of affliction from the Bible …
Who was the shortest person who ever lived? Bildad the Shuhite!
“There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless - a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters.
“He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.
“Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended - sometimes after several days - Job would purify his children.
“He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular practice.
“One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news:
“Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
“While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: ‘The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.’
“While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: ‘Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.’
“While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: ‘Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides.
“The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”
In Job 2:7b-9 we see that Job was
“… struck with terrible boils from head to foot. Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, ‘Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’”
Now, that’s affliction. That just seems like a story from the Bible. It seems that Job is far, far away and the calamity is so great that it does not even seem real. All of Job’s earthly possessions are lost in one brief portion of a day. All of his children are killed in a freak windstorm a few moments later. He is now covered with painful boils from head to foot and his wife, who is also filled with suffering and grief herself, is telling him that his best option is to curse God and die.