I flew from Louisville, Kentucky to Chicago on Wednesday afternoon. My neck hurt but I suspected it was just from reading too long. The next flight was from Chicago to Portland. As I got off the plane, both my shoulders ached and I could hardly turn my head or lift my luggage. By the time I reached home, the joints in my wrists hurt. Pacing the living room at three in the morning, I wondered if perhaps this was not just some medical condition but a spiritual attack. I asked the Lord for His help and to bring healing. By that evening, the pain moved into my knees to the point that I could hardly walk. My parents urged me to go to the emergency room. I called a retired Navy Seal who served as a corpsman and he offered advice and then joined my family in praying for me.
Psalm 4:1—Answer me when I call, God, who vindicates me. You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
On Friday, I visited a doctor and a chiropractor. Both concluded that a virus probably was responsible for the acute pain. It will take days before blood work comes back but by late in the afternoon, I was already feeling better. Talking to my friend, David, on the phone, we reflected on how little it takes to incapacitate us. Truly, the body is wonderful yet vulnerable.
Affliction offers God-believers the opportunity to have heartfelt conversations with Him. Words tend to be quite meaningful when pain holds us by the neck. We should be glad that we can call out to our Father when we are under assault. He gives us hope in the midst of suffering.
Affliction offers those who have strayed from God, the opportunity to run back to Him. Pain is a reminder of who is really in control. But what does affliction teach those who don’t believe in God? Who vindicates, frees, provides grace and listens to the one who worships None? The same David who pled with God to answer him, later asked his afflicters, “How long will you love what is worthless and pursue a lie?” (vs 2) Despite his suffering, he could see their deeper dilemma—ignoring God. Affliction has a way of doing that—bringing clarity to what matters and doesn’t matter . . . something to think about . . . in reveration.
The agony of a man’s affliction is often necessary to put him into the right mood to face the fundamental things of life.—Oswald Chambers in The Shadow of an Agony
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)