If one is a reader of the Word with any diligence and devotion eventually they will come to the realization that God’s means of encouraging and strengthening His beloved differ greatly from the means employed by many of today’s wildly popular preachers.
Today I was reading a passage in the book of Isaiah, and I couldn’t help but think how different God’s way of speaking encouragement into our lives is than that of mere men.
Isaiah 54:11, “O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted. Behold I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.”
Here is a word spoken by God that promises nothing in the way of the escapism we have come to be so comforted by. Although God acknowledges that His servant is afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, He does not proceed to promise that the affliction will end, that he will no longer be tossed about with tempest, or that he will finally find the much sought after comfort. God’s means of encouraging His child is the promise of a priceless reward for the faithfulness he exemplified while being tossed about with tempest, afflicted, and not comforted.
When we get sick, the first thing we do, is attempt to find a cure. Whether it is merely a common cold or something far worse, we want that pill, that shot, that treatment that will take away the pain, and make us feel better. In our walk with God, whenever we race affliction, whenever we are tossed with tempest, many of us run to God for comfort, for the remedy. We run to God not attempting to see His perfect plan for us in our affliction, not attempting to understand His thoughts rather than impose our thoughts upon Him, but to demand that the affliction cease, the tempest pass, and that we find our comfort.
What some of us, and I have been guilty of this a time or two throughout my walk, fail to understand, is that God sees beyond today, into tomorrow, into next week, next month and next year, and the affliction He allows to befall us today may be the means by which we are spared far greater affliction tomorrow. Often times we are as little children who get angry with our parents for slapping our hand away when attempting to touch a hot stove, and even when the parent takes the time to explain why it would have hurt much worse if they would have let us touch the stove than merely slapping our hand away, we fail to understand and appreciate the gesture.
I don’t know who this is for but it is something I felt I needed to write and post, even if you get angry with God for allowing affliction, even if you are unable to find your comfort, know that God will not apologize for what He has allowed in your life, because the alternative would have been much, much worse.
In every affliction, our foundation is strengthened, through every tempest we come out that much stronger, and as reward for our faithfulness God begins lay colorful gems and sapphires within the stones of our foundations. A proven faith is able to reach greater heights in God, and partake of a greater glory. A proven faith sees the afflictions and the hardships for what they are and glories in them for it knows the outcome of all trials, a closer and more intimate fellowship with the Father.
There is yet another thing God promises to those who remain faithful in the midst of the storm, those who are not discouraged or disheartened by their afflictions but press ever forward toward the eternity that awaits.
Isaiah 54:14, “In righteousness you shall be established, you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you.”
God promises that He will establish us in His righteousness. When men are established in anything other than the righteousness of God, whether it is prosperity, strange doctrine, false manifestations or outright deception, their end will be likened to the end of those in the world who will suffer both oppression and terror. To His beloved children, those whom He has established in His righteousness God promises that they shall not only be far from oppression and terror, but that they shall not fear.
There is a distinct difference between affliction and oppression, between being tossed with tempest and outright terror and fear. The former things are allowed of God for our purification, maturity and testing, while the latter are reserved for those who reject Him, who mock Him, and deny Him.
The season is upon us wherein we must stand on the promises of God, our heavenly Father, and not be swayed by what the physical eyes see. We cannot be as those who stumble in the darkness, for we are children of the light and our path is clear before us, our destination preordained from the creation of the world. If perfect love casts out fear, then trust in our heavenly Father keeps it at bay, not allowing it to worm its way back into our hearts even when everything in the physical would suggest otherwise. God will never forget His servants, He will not abandon His children, and though it might seem that we endure affliction without end, seeking comfort and respite from our trials and not finding it, soon we will know the true measure of our Father’s protection and favor.
Isaiah 65:13-14, “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold My servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; behold, My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be ashamed; Behold My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and wail for grief of spirit.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.