Why Does God Allow Us To Be Afflicted?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Sometimes, life can become overwhelming, so why does God allow us to be so afflicted in this life?

Overcome Sin

Sometimes, life can become overwhelming, so why does God allow us to be so afflicted in this life?  Doesn’t it seem that God’s blessings and going through afflictions in life are opposites of each other?  How can we be blessed by afflictions?  The psalmist is clear about one reason God brings us into troubles, while not causing our afflictions. Scripture says “Thy word have I laid up in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Storing up or memorizing Scripture can be a quick aid when we are faced with temptation or when we’re enduring afflictions in life. In fact, afflictions can help us overcome sin, as it says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Psalm 119:67). The psalmist was living astray of God’s commands until he was afflicted, but then, after the afflictions have had their work in him, he keeps God’s Word, so this is a positive outcome for the believer. If afflictions keep us from sin, then they’re well worth it, even if they don’t feel like it at the time.Sorrow, depression

Draw us Close

When we’re facing trials, temptations, tests and afflictions we are more prone to pray and seek God’s favor. We suddenly become prayer warriors when things begin to crash down around us. We are more desperate and more apt to seek God and His Word when troubles pile up. The psalmist understood the truth that “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Don’t you want to be near to God? If we’re living contrary to God’s Word, we’ve moved farther away from God, but it is we who have moved, not Him. When we’re crushed in spirit and brokenhearted, we’re nearer to God than most, and that’s a good thing. Satan doesn’t fear sheep…he fears sheep close to the Shepherd; the Good Shepherd.

Identify with Others

When we’re afflicted, God comforts us, right? So in the same way, God “who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor 1:4). It’s like we pay it forward…we comfort others in the same way God comforted us when we needed it, but this is important; God uses us as a means to send His comfort to others. We are to be Jesus’ hands, feet, voice, and eyes and seek to save the lost and comfort those who are suffering. This should give us compassion toward others when they suffer through similar things we have suffered through. We can understand in a sense what they’re going through. The word compassion means “with” (com) “passion” (feeling), so to have compassion on someone is to enter into their sufferings, and identifying with that suffering.

Depend on Him

When everything you’ve tried hasn’t helped, and you’ve done all you can do, it’s time for God to do what only God can do. When we’ve reached the end of our rope, it’s time to depend on God and not on self or even others.  Maybe we’ve been relying upon ourselves too much! Of course, it’s good to ask for help, but when there is no human resource available for our problems, it’s time to seek God and depend on Him to do what only He can do. Sometimes there no possible human solutions and we are left only with God…when are left to ourselves and have done all we can do, then only God can do what He can do. This is a lesson on how we should have depended upon God in the first place and to learn to depend on Him for our sustenance.

Discipline = Love 

God disciplines every child of His. If not, we are not really His child. God’s love is proven by His loving, firm hand, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb 12:6). Often it takes the velvet vice of God’s love to conform us more into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. The psalmist understood God’s disciple was tied to His eternal love for us as he wrote, “I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (Psalm 119:75). We know afflictions don’t feel good at the time, but the truth is, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71). Don’t grow weary when God disciplines you. Understand that it is His love in action, for “Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law” (Psalm 94:12).

Why God Created Us


Our afflictions can keep us out of sin and to overcome certain sins. Afflictions can draw us closer to God if we’ve strayed. Afflictions can help us comfort others who are going through the same or similar afflictions that we’ve endured. Afflictions can teach us to depend upon God always, not just during trials and temptations. And afflictions or God’s loving hand is evident when He disciplines us…showing He cares for us and want’s what’s best for us. God’s Word can comfort the afflicted, but it can afflict the comfortable. It depends on where a person is in life. The Word of God has the same meaning in all cases, but some verses can reassure us of God’s love while others can convict us of sin. Either way, the Word of God has power to save and power to heal, at least the inward pains of life. Of all of God’s precious promises, not one will ever fail (Joshua 21:43; 1 King 8:56), even when you’re living with afflictions.

Here is some related reading for you: How to Thank God for Your Sorrows and Problems

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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