One young man asked a bible teacher: What commentaries, reference bible and websites do you use to prepare your sermon? He assumed that the teacher would get some ready-made sermons. The teacher said that he learnt from the school of affliction. “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” (Psalms 119:71) God teaches life lessons, in his own school of affliction.
1) Greatness of God: Job learnt about God’s greatness and graciousness in his unexpected and unwarranted affliction.
2) Purpose of God: Joseph understood God’s Sovereign power and His plan to use him to preserve life for the future Nation of Israel and the coming Messiah during his unjust affliction. In fact, God’s Word tested Joseph. (Psalms 105:19)
3) Obedience and service: The prodigal son learnt about his rebellion, disobedience and sinful indulgence and repented when confronted with hunger and starvation.
4) Steadfast love: Jeremiah learnt God’s grace never fails while lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem. (Lamentations 3:22-23) In the school of affliction we learn about our inadequacies, vulnerability, and vanities; realities of life; Attributes and grace of God; Promises of God and experience His faithfulness. These lessons become authentic teachings that touch and transform lives. Are we afraid of affliction or subordinate them to learn our life lessons?
5) Power of God: The three men Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were thrown in the hot furnace by Nebuchadnezzar were delivered miraculously by the power of God. (Daniel 3:8-25)
6) Grace of God: Paul’s physical affliction helped him to learn the value of the grace of God, which supplements his weakness. (II Corinthians 12:9)
7) Deliverance of God: Moses had to spend forty years in the wilderness, taking care of the sheep of his father-in-law. There God spoke to him from the Burning Bush and got call to deliver people from Egyptian slavery.
God’s school functions on sick beds, ash heaps, war ruins, prisons, fire furnace, wilderness…etc. Human personality (inner person) has to be disciplined and shaped to become God’s vessel of use.
Am I learning in the school of affliction?