I've been thinking about afflictions lately.
The Bible talks about them like they were really easy and light and only last for the night. But when one is in the middle of affliction it feels like you'll never see the silver lining of that dark looming cloud.
A few years ago, I was smack in the middle of one of these afflictions, I would journal every night and every entry seemed to be the same "Who am I?", or "Why me?" or "What's the point?". They were all so dismal and sad that even now it's hard to go back and read through them.
I'd try to end my entries with something I'd learned or a piece of encouragement, but they never seemed to help. I'd just fall right back into the funk the next day.
This is what happens when you are lost in the wilderness of afflictions or hardships.
Don't be shaped by perceptions
I remember during one of those days, I was doing laundry, we didn't have a drier where I lived so I was out back hanging my clothes.
As I pinned one after another the sky above me darkened. This only served to depress me more. Great, can't even wash my clothes right. You know, that sort of thought pattern.
I kept hanging my clothes in defiance. Shouting at God to ease up on me, let me at least get one freaking thing right. That's when I looked up at the sky.
I raised my face to shout only to discover the dark sky- the affliction, so to speak- was one tiny white little cloud that was covering the sun.
Talk about an overreaction.
In that moment I had to laugh, but I ended up in tears. It was like God was saying, "I see the pain you're in. I know your burdens, but what I have for you, compared to this affliction is so much bigger."
It was a life changing moment for me. One I could carry through the rest of that light affliction. The picture of a massive blue sky unfolding in every direction with only one tiny cloud.
Choose hope and light
Today, I was hit with this reminder from the past.
The lies, doubts and apathy, that loves to accompany them, seemed to stand forever at the door. Their persistence was overwhelming and my physical body seemed unable to hold them off. I couldn't get warm enough and I couldn't sleep long enough.
Temptation crept through the corners of my mind and their alluring voices almost dragged me away, out of the light, out of the truth.
Thankfully, God spoke stronger than the others and reminded me of this simple truth - though life may seem difficult for the moment, it will pass.
The light will return.
At the end of my life I want to be able to say I stood strong, that I didn't lose hope and I carried on for a higher purpose then what I could currently see.
The walls (afflictions) only stand for a short while and then we will be given the strength to either knock them down or climb over them. Or realize they're only apparitions and walk through them, confusing their efforts and watch them swirl away in the mist.
When I chose to cling to Him today the voices dimmed and though I still felt cold and I was still tired and hungry, the weight, the oppression seemed lighter and all I could think of was "light affliction".
"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an
eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison"
2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 17
No matter where life takes you, whether the storms seem to rage ever on and on, or the sky seems to never let the sun come out and play. Take courage, take heart.
This life is but a shadow compared to the big adventure awaiting us in the Ever After.
Whatever light affliction you are facing, hold on to hope that this too shall pass.
God says it will and I believe Him.
He is a pretty smart guy after all; and when it does we will see those glorious silver linings and our hearts will be gladdened.
Charis Joy Jackson is working as a full-time missionary with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) a non-profit organisation in Queensland. During the day she makes movies and in her spare time is writing a novel. www.charisjoyjackson.com
Charis Joy Jackson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/charis-jackson.html