Psalm 34:19 – “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.” NKJV
The word afflictions is translated from the Hebrew word, “ra” and can be used to mean adversity, calamity, distress, harm, hurt, misery, sorrow and trouble, to name a few. What type of evangelism experience would you have if you walked up to an unsaved person and said, “Hey! I want to tell you about all the trouble, the hurt, the misery, and sorrows you are going to go through as a believer”? You will be ineffective in your attempt to win that person to the Lord! No one wants to buy into trouble. But the wonderful thing about affliction, is that the Lord delivers us out of all of them!
Jesus said it like this, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” In other words, we as Christians are inevitably going to experience some things, but the promise of God is that He has already overcome the world, and that includes its troubles!
Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers; but then God gave Pharaoh a dream that only Joseph could interpret, and he was moved from the prison to second in command of Egypt. Moses’ mom had to put him in a basket in the Nile River because she couldn’t bear to see harm come to him; but then God had Pharaoh’s daughter find him, fall instantly in love with him, and she raised him as her own. The children of Israel were standing at the Red Sea, with the sea before them and the Egyptians behind them; but then God parted the sea, that they could walk over on dry land. And then God drowned the Egyptians in the sea! The children of Israel came to a place where there was no water; but then God told Moses to strike the rock and water gushed out to meet their needs.
Job lost every thing he had except his wife and his life; but then God stepped in and blessed him with double for his trouble! The Hebrew boys were thrown in a furnace that was turned up seven times hotter; but then God stepped into the furnace and not a hair on their head was singed. Daniel was thrown in the lions’ den; but then God closed the mouths of the lions, and Daniel went to sleep. Jonah was swallowed by the large fish, but then God made the fish throw him up!
Goliath had the Israelites shaking in their boots, but then God sent David to the camp and he killed Goliath! David was in the cave of Adullam seeking encouragement from the Lord, but then God sent him 400 men who became his mighty army! David was running from Saul for his life; but then God took care of his enemy, and gave him the kingdom.
Five thousand people went to hear Jesus preach, and ended up staying so long they missed their dinner; but then God multiplied two loaves of bread and five fish, and fed them. Taxes came due, and Peter was concerned about how to pay them; but then God had a fish find a coin, and led that fish to Peter’s net. Saul was a persecutor of the church; but then God stopped him on his way to Damascus, and turned him into Paul the apostle. Jesus was crucified and hung on the cross; but then God raised Him from the dead, giving salvation to us all.
You see, I can’t think of a single person who sees a trial and then shouts, “This is going to be a good one! Let me at it!” I know I don’t! But we should! The minute we see the devil prowling on the attack, we need to start looking for the “but then God” moments! It is in the midst of all of these troubles, trials, difficulties, hurts, sorrows and disappointments of life, that we see God stepping in on our behalf, bringing mighty miracles of deliverance! Andrea Crouch sang these words in a song, “If I didn’t have any problems, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them!” This is so true, and yet many of us struggle through our difficulties, barely able to believe that God could possibly loves us, since we are hurting so much! I want you to know He most certainly does!
Am I saying that we should ask for, look for, or even desire afflictions? Absolutely not! My pastor likes to say, “You are either going through a trial, you just came out of a trial, or you are about to go in a trial!” Every time I hear it, I cringe! I don’t like trials! But I love the victories! I love the testimonies! I love the shouting and the dancing that follows every time! Guess what? You can’t have one without the other!
This pandemic feels unreal! It’s hard to comprehend all that has happened in such a short period of time. In just a couple months there have been over 320,000 people who have died as a result of this virus, while almost 5 million have contracted it worldwide. That’s mind boggling! On top of that, millions are unemployed! Not what we were looking for in 2020! But I am confident, and I am so convinced, that there is going to be a “but then God” moment in the lives of all who can believe! Hopefully, even in the world!
This is not panic time! It’s time to believe like never before! It’s time to trust in the faithfulness of God like you have read about in the examples above, even in God’s word! It is time to say, and continue to say, that this is a great time and place for a…but then God! Trials and tribulations that we will face may not be a wonderful place to start an evangelism opportunity, but it most certainly can be a wonderful place to end it! Whatever Satan has up his sleeve, hang in there for your “but then God”! Wonderful Jesus!