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Seeds of the Kingdom

How to Stay Alive in Affliction

by Grace Bull

12 December 2015

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If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
Psalm 119:92, NIV

I once knew a lady who told me what she did, when she felt really down. It always worked for her. If things were especially bad, she might have to do it more than once. But the solution, which always lifted her spirits, was an unusual one. She read through Psalm 119.

Have you ever tried that? It’s a very long psalm – the longest one, in fact, with 176 verses. It is all about God’s Word (His Law), and how God’s Word is the greatest thing in the world, the most precious thing imaginable. Her record – on a particularly terrible day - was reading it through 6 times before her spirits lifted. But lift they did!

I thought about that lady when I read today’s verse recently; ‘If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction’.

None of us knows when affliction will come. All can be going swimmingly well, and then suddenly the changes start. News shocks us, troubles pile up like mountains, and then they seem to block out the light.

When we’re in the middle of affliction, it’s difficult to find internal stability, let alone peace. That’s when we need to dig deeply into God’s Word, because it will sooth our spirits, and connect us with the only source of truly loving, powerful, help and rescue. If you’re afflicted today, turn to God’s Word, and persevere like that lady did, until you hear from Him. He wants to reassure you, and pour His love and power into your life.

But don’t wait for affliction to start. We need to love God’s Word now, and to read and study it now. The psalmist was in so much trouble that he felt he would have perished in his affliction if he hadn’t already made God’s Word his delight. And that is true for us too.

If we feel it’s too difficult to dig into God’s Word now, when things are OK, isn’t it likely that we’ll be out of the habit when real trouble comes? We won’t even think of turning to God’s Word then.

We may perish spiritually, (and perhaps even physically), if we try to survive real trouble without God’s help. We’ll be like the plant with shallow roots, which Jesus spoke about in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13). When hard times, came it dried up, because its roots were shallow. The roots hadn’t gone deep enough to find the underground water.

Do you have a routine for Bible reading? If something’s non-urgent, we’ll only do it regularly if we schedule it in. Is reading God’s Word part of your daily schedule? Could you make it part?

And do we take enough time over it to think about what we read? It will strengthen our spirits if we let God’s Word speak to us personally. That means taking time to think about what you read, however short the passage. Your spirit needs that nourishment every day. Mine does too.

A new year is a good time for a new habit. Could you look now and find a Bible reading plan, and be ready to start a daily habit that will make you ready for whatever days might lie ahead? There are lots of possibilities out there for help and encouragement. Why not start today?

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for giving me a Bible. Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit too, to make it come alive to me. I would like to make Your Word my delight, so I can be strengthened in my spirit. Please would You help me? Thank You. Amen.

Grace Bull is a member of the Ellel Ministries team, working in course development and the support of Ellel centres worldwide, having previously been a full-time GP (family doctor) for 15 years. Her passion is relationship with God and doing anything that will help other people to find that close relationship too.

 

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