Finding Strength in the Midst of Affliction: A Reflection on God's Sovereignty
As believers, we often encounter various forms of afflictions and challenges. The world we live in is fallen, and we must navigate through the complexities and complications that arise. However, as we face these trials, we must remember that we serve a sovereign God who works all things together for our good and His glory. In this blog post, we will reflect on how we can find strength and encouragement amid affliction.
Sober-Mindedness in a Fallen World
Christians, though saved and made into new creatures in Christ, must grasp the importance of being sober-minded as they live in the context of this world. We are in a fallen world where complications and challenges are to be expected. As believers, we must not be surprised when afflictions come our way. Sober-mindedness allows us to recognize the unredeemed aspects of our flesh and the need to constantly rely on God's grace and strength. It’s not enough to abstain from substances that alter our minds. We must also know accurately who we are, where we are, and where we are going. We must know personally the One who knows all things and rules over all, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Persevering in the Face of Persecution
Persecution is a reality of life that the believer must never forget. Paul, the apostle, endured countless trials and hardships throughout his missionary career. He recognized that persecution was part of the journey and encouraged others to be prepared for it. You may not be facing persecution today, but many of our brothers and sisters in Christ still are facing it for their faith. We are called to pray for them and consider their plight. We are called to persevere so that the Kingdom may continue to advance.When times are peaceful, we are not to get lazy. We are to take ground and advance.
Afflictions in Light of God's Sovereignty
When we do encounter persecution and/or trials, we must learn to see it in the light of God's sovereignty. While the evil one may have intentions to hinder and harm us, God is ultimately in control. He allows afflictions for a purpose - to draw us closer to Himself, to sanctify us, and to strengthen our faith. It is crucial to remember that God's plans for us far exceed the schemes of the enemy. Often it is the strong, peaceful, and loving resolve of the afflicted believer who trusts in his Lord that stirs the hearts of wicked people to acknowledge their sin, repent, and believe in Jesus Christ. Almost all Christians acknowledge the sovereignty of God, but few are those who actually consider what it entails that God is sovereign. The doctrine of God's sovereignty and Lordship, rightly understood, brings great comfort and courage to the follower of Christ.
Choosing to be Part of God's Solution
As believers, we are called to be part of God's solution amid afflictions. We are not to fall into despair when difficulty comes our way. Nor are we meant to face challenges alone. Just as Paul released and sent Timothy to be a source of encouragement and exhortation to the Thessalonian believers encountering affliction for their faith, we are called to support and encourage one another. By choosing to be part of God's solution, we contribute to the establishment and growth of the body of Christ. When necessary, we joyfully put aside our own needs for the greater good of the body of Christ.
Finding strength in affliction requires a firm understanding of God's sovereignty and a commitment to persevere in faith, knowing that it is God alone who actively works to cause us to persevere until the end. He will never let us go, forsake us, or let us be separated from Himself and His perfect love. As we navigate through this fallen world, we must maintain a sober-minded perspective, knowing that we serve a God who is in complete control. In times of persecution and affliction, let us not forget our brothers and sisters who face unimaginable hardships. Instead, let us choose to be part of God's solution, encouraging and supporting one another as we draw closer to Him. May His strength sustain us as we face the challenges of life, and may His sovereignty bring us peace and hope in all circumstances. All the missionaries until now who accomplished much for Christ, by His grace, endured much as well. They endured much because they knew their Lord and Savior, the Sovereign One who sustains the world with the power of His word.
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. - Phil. 1: 29-30
Written by Jesse Schreck | servant of the Lord, founder, director, and missionary church planter with Practical Missions Cohort
To hear more on this topic you can listen to ep. 297 of Missions Incorporated
Or you can watch this missionary highlight - Understanding Afflictions Through God's Sovereignty