For the Afflicted


In life, there are many trials or challenges that one will face. There may be one great or multiple small afflictions that each of us has to combat. Take my mom for example, she has been afflicted with a number of physical ailments that totally changed how she envision spending her retirement years. She thought her time would be seasoned with a myriad of service opportunities, but soon after retirement, her body just quit. She was stricken with osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease that causes a breakdown of cartilage tissue, triggering pain, edema and deformity. For her, it struck in her knees first but now is in her hip as well. It has totally limited her mobility. What may take you or me a minute may take her ten to do. Simple functions like just going to the bathroom are arduous tasks for her. From that we can easily answer the question of what does it mean to be afflicted. Afflicted is one having painful physical or mental ailment. Dictionary.com defines it as to distress with mental or bodily pain; trouble greatly or grievously: to cause suffering or unhappiness to; Is there any relief for the afflicted?

Throughout the bible, there are people who were afflicted. Sarah was afflicted with a barren womb. Albeit self-imposed, Aaron was afflicted with leprosy. There is Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan and Saul’s grandson, who was crippled. There is the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. The blind, the lame, the death are included too. There are the prideful and greedy also. There is Judas and Peter who both suffered mental anguish because of their betrayal and denial of Jesus. Ultimately, there is Jesus who chose to endure the physical, mental, and spiritual pain of the cross for the sake of the elect.

Those others and Jesus give us hope For the Afflicted. I was moved to write this today after rereading Psalm 34. It is a passage that I shared with a co-worker. God challenged me to read it again and For the Afflicted jumped off the page in verse two.

My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad. (NKJV)

I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice. (NIV)

I am sure that we all are dealing with an affliction at this present moment. God wants us to know that He is our strength, hope and song. There is not more than I can say. Read the text and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Invite Him to speak to your heart and mind.

Psalm 34 (NIV)

I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
    the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

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