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Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all. Psalms 34:19 NRSV

Afflictions! It's an old-fashioned word, for sure. We don't ask people, "How are your afflictions?" We are unlikely to encounter it anywhere except in a biblical context. So, what does it mean? It's a catchall that can mean any trouble, illness, hardship, adversity–anything unpleasant.

Wait, we are good people; we strive to live as Christians; shouldn't we be exempted? It would be nice, however righteous or evil; troubles come our way. Sometimes, as a result of our actions, but often not, they just happen.

The difference, though, between the righteous and the unrighteous is what God does. When we encounter these hardships, we become humbled and acutely aware of our need for God. We accept we can't rescue ourselves; deliverance can only come from God. In our waiting, we take comfort in the promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it."

We look to Christ as our example. He certainly suffered afflictions; abused, persecuted, and crucified. He frequently spoke with the Father during these ordeals. His human side realized he couldn't do it alone but needed the Father's guidance and strength. For Christ, deliverance came in his death and resurrection–all done with us in mind. In this mighty act offered to us by the Father through the Son, we become one of the righteous, and with the Holy Spirit, as our Helper, we find rescue.

Compassionate Triune God, we thank you for your rescue. In our afflictions, we humble ourselves and trust in your deliverance. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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