“Afflicted but Not Crushed”
Afflicted. Perplexed. Persecuted. Struck down. My guess is that you can resonate with Paul’s words. What affliction is threatening to crush you right now? What suffering is testing your faith?
Maybe you’re fighting a malignant disease. Maybe it’s a short-term illness that is keeping you from carrying out your plans. Or maybe you lost your job this week, and you’re worried about feeding your family. Are you in the middle of a nasty relational feud? Or married to someone who is not following Christ?
Lyme disease threatens me. Because of Lyme and its ill effects, physical pain and weakness are my frequent visitors. There are times when, after an extended period of feeling well, stable, and hopeful, they rebound with a vengeance. I reach my limit during these regressions, as my faith feels pressed and my struggle to believe the gospel intensifies—and out pour the tears. I often cry because I’m angry, fearful, and worried. I wonder how much more I can take, if the struggle will ever end, and if any good will come of it.
I am tempted to believe that because I am afflicted in certain ways, I cannot get out of the downward spiral into being crushed in spirit as well as in body. How I long for my heart-cry in suffering to be like Paul’s! How I long to believe this beautiful truth: I am afflicted in every way, but not crushed.
Oh, don’t you want this? To have the confidence that the pressures of suffering will not defeat you?
So how can we learn to say along with Paul, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed”? We look to the cross, and to the One who was hanged on it. Jesus was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. He shouldered the burden of our sin upon his shoulders. Jesus willingly took the penalty of sin that we deserved, drinking the cup of spiritual death for us.
God has taken our gravest affliction—death—and has overcome it in Christ, so that we would never be overcome by it. The Father crushed his Son so that we would never be crushed by sin and death, so that we would spend an eternity of joy in his presence.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV
post by Hope