Better Through Your Battle
The Psalmist declares 3 times in 10 verses a truth that is not as comfortable as some others that we find in the Bible.
I don’t know about you, but I am not into pain or suffering. If I have the privilege to choose I am definitely going with less pain, less trouble, and less suffering. And yet the Scripture, in many places, tells us that there are times when difficulty is for our development, suffering is part of our sanctification, and heartache moves us toward holiness.
Scripture, in many places, tells us that there are times when difficulty is for our development, suffering is part of our sanctification, and heartache moves us toward holiness.
In Psalm 119 there is a section where the writer seems preoccupied with the thought that the Lord uses “affliction” for some glorious purpose in our life.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
75 I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
This startling truth can be misused to teach a twisted view of a God who wants us to be in pain or to live a gloomy life. This is certainly not the case. The reality is that we are told that there is no greater blessing than living in obedience and in harmony with our wonderful God—“In His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm16:11).
And yet, while God’s Spirit in us produces peace, joy, love, and hope, there is a truth that we find over and over again in Scripture that says somehow our problems are part of the process in which the Lord produces good things in us.
We find over and over again in Scripture the truth that somehow our problems are part of the process in which the Lord produces good things in us.
Two things came to mind as I pondered these verses.
First, we live in a world where suffering is inevitable. Whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist, or an atheist, everyone in this world is under the curse of sin and subject to its brokenness. While a day is coming when all of these difficult things in this life will be gone, we still live in the day where they very much impact our lives. There is no promise in the Word of God that says a believer will not suffer in any way. (There’s your encouraging word for the day!) We should be careful not to embrace or pursue a theology that teaches that, because we are Christians, we won’t get sick, our family will not suffer loss, every deal will go our way, and sunshine is always in the forecast.
However, secondly—and very importantly—we need to know that God is a good God. In Psalm 119:68, it says, “You (God) are good and do good.”
The real promise that believers possess, that unbelievers do not, is that the moments of “affliction” in our life, those times when we are brought low, are the very moments where God shows up and does something divine in us.
As Christians, our troubles may not vanish from our life, but neither will our God! While we are facing them He will use our trials like a surgical instrument to produce something better and beautiful in us. This is the great miracle. That we are “more than conquerors” even while we suffer affliction. That the very thing that Satan wants to use to destroy our faith, abolish our future, and cause all hope to be lost becomes something good for us. Something that makes us more like Christ, teaches us more about the love of God, and enables us to experience God like never before. Not only that, but in these sanctified moments of suffering God’s glory is revealed to others and the Kingdom of God expands. Wow!
As Christians, our troubles may not vanish from our life, but neither will our God! While we are facing them He will use our trials like a surgical instrument to produce something better and beautiful in us.
So this morning, don’t run from trial, don’t question God’s goodness, and don’t think that something is wrong with you if things are not all that rosy. Simply tell the Lord that you are surrendered to His will in this and that whatever happens, you want His glory to be seen and His purposes to be accomplished in your life.
Our good God is both powerful and peace-giving. He who creates the winds also calms the storms. Trust Him and He will make you better through your battle!
BE ENCOURAGED—WE’RE CHRISTIANS!
Copyright © 2023 Troy Keaton. All rights reserved.
Pastor Troy is the founding pastor at EastLake Community Church at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. EastLake is a growing, dynamic, generous church with a God-sized vision to Multiply Believers, Leaders, and Churches. Troy is passionate about prayer, the Word of God, and seeing the church experience renewal. Troy and his wife Janel are blessed with 4 children and 8 grandchildren. Pastor Troy’s greatest blessing is loving his wife through her difficult journey with cancer.