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Read Psalm 34:19-22


"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all" (v. 19). The psalmist does not say, "I thought the Lord kept us out of afflictions. I thought that if I read my Bible every day and prayed and tried to obey His will, I would never have any afflictions." Instead, he says that we will face many afflictions.


Why do we have afflictions in our lives? We have some afflictions simply because we are human. They are just a part of human life. We get older, and our bodies begin to run down. Not every sickness, every accident or every problem we face comes because God is angry at us or is disciplining us. They may just be a part of life.


We also have afflictions because Satan is against us. He'd love to destroy us. Or, afflictions may come because we have disobeyed the Lord. I'm glad for those; I'm glad that God loves me enough to "spank" me when I've disobeyed Him.


But often, afflictions are God's tools for helping us grow. We don't really grow until we've been through the furnace, through the storm or through the battle. God is not raising hothouse plants that shrivel when the hot wind blows on them. No, He wants to raise mature sons and daughters, and that's why we have afflictions. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all" (v. 19). He doesn't keep us out of them. He delivers us from them. Sometimes He changes the circumstances. Sometimes He changes us. The real secret of deliverance is not the circumstance around you but the faith within you. Expect affliction, but trust God for deliverance.


Perhaps God's greatest use of affliction is as a tool for helping you grow into a mature Christian. The good news is that you may trust Him to deliver you from your afflictions. The next time you face affliction, trust the Lord for your deliverance.


Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group (bakerpublishinggroup.com). Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from Baker Publishing Group.

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