There Really Is A Reason – 12 Benefits Of Afflictions

God doesn’t afflict us or allow us to be afflicted for no reason.

He has wonderful purposes for all he does in us.  God is the great artist who produces the ultimate masterpieces – sons and daughters in the likeness of his Son Jesus Christ. So he makes every stroke of the Master’s brush, every tap of the Sculptor’s chisel count.

So in God’s plan, afflictions have great benefit to us, as painful as they are at times.  If we keep these benefits in mind when we suffer, they can help us endure joyfully.

Afflictions deliver us from pride. Paul said God gave him his grievous thorn “to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations” 2 Corinthians 12:7

Afflictions make us sympathetic, merciful and slower to judge.  If you’ve suffered the fury of depression, you won’t assume that others who are depressed are in sin.  If you’ve been grieved by a rebellious teen, you’ll be quick to sympathize with other struggling parents.

Afflictions remind us of the brevity of this life and make us long for heaven where our true treasure is.  ”When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, ‘It is good to be here!’”  John Newton.

Afflictions stir us to pray and keep us dependent on God. Too many days of continuous sunshine and we can forget how much we need the Lord.  But as thunderstorms make us run for shelter, so afflictions make us to run to our Refuge and Strength, and cry out like David, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” Psalm 25:16

Afflictions are opportunities for Christ to display his power in us.  As long as we can handle things in our own strength, we won’t see God’s power.  It’s when the burden gets too massive for us to bear that Christ comes along and says, “Hey, let me take that from you” and reveals his universe-sustaining strength.  ”But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Afflictions drive us to God’s word.  “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”  Ps 119:71.  A life preserver doesn’t mean much to someone lounging in a deck chair reading a novel. But when the ship is sinking and one is adrift in the ocean that life preserver is everything.  When we are sinking in affliction, we grab onto God’s promises and they uphold us.

Afflictions yield supernatural comfort.  ”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

Afflictions prove the reality of God’s grace in our lives.  How does someone endure years of sickness yet continue to be joyful?  How does a wife lose her husband to cancer yet join the saints the following Sunday and lift her hands in worship? What makes a husband care for his Alzheimer – racked wife and continue to love God?  God’s amazing grace!  Endurance through afflictions is evidence we haven’t believed some empty philosophy or fable.

Afflictions make us thankful when God delivers us from them.  “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” Psalm 50:15.

Afflictions produce unique fruit that doesn’t grow in other soil.  Fruit like faith, patience, perseverance, gentleness, long-suffering.  The only way to get them is by going through trials that require them.

Afflictions manifest God’s faithfulness and mighty sustaining power. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35, 38-39

Finally, afflictions make us like Christ.  God’s ultimate goal is to conform us to his Son so that we can enjoy him forever.  So ultimately, afflictions are for our eternal joy and gladness in Jesus

  • Elaine

    Great post, Mark. Thank you for the encouragement; gives great hope.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thank you, Elaine. Appreciate your constant encouragement.

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  • Bob

    thanks for the post…..I am going thru a bit of physical suffering right now. As I am tempted to despair, I realized that my suffering was aggravated and intensified by the fact I could NOT control it. My erroneous thinking was, if i can't control it, it is out of control. God is reminding me that suffering is never out of His control. In my case, He is using the suffering to show me what a controlling nature i have and leading me to repentance. Much of the anxiety connected with my suffering lies in this control issue. Amazingly, I can thank God for my affliction because He is teaching me that he's sovereign over EVERYTHING.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Hey Bob, I don\’t know the extent to which you are suffering – you didn\’t really describe it – but I\’m sorry you have to be going through this affliction. Thanks for your comments – they are really good and it sounds like God is doing great things in your life. I think we all believe somehow that we can control things and God reminds us all from time to time that he is the only sovereign one. Again thanks for your excellent comments.

  • L Lee

    Thank you for this commentary. I had a cancer biopsy yesterday and will find out the results tomorrow. My prayer has been that God will be glorified through all of this, and that others can see Christ in me. Difficult some days, but I am sustained through it by my God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Wow what a wonderful prayer – I hope that I can glorify God like you are should the time come when I have to suffer in some similar way. I don't know how anyone gets through trials like yours without the Lord and his grace and power. Thank you for sharing.

  • lisa

    This is so good.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thanks Lisa.

  • hamoncan

    Amen, Amen.

    • Mark Altrogge


  • Cliff

    Thank you for the wonderful insights and perspective. God is bigger than any of my problems, and none of them is outside the scope of his plans and purposes!

    • Mark Altrogge

      That's right, Cliff! That brings me so much comfort to know that….

  • Mary Ann

    Thanks, Mark.

    The one that stood out to me is:

    Afflictions produce unique fruit that doesn’t grow in other soil. Fruit like faith, patience, perseverance, gentleness, long-suffering. The only way to get them is by going through trials that require them.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thanks Mary Ann,

      Wish there were an easier way to get this fruit sometimes, but God knows best…..Sometimes I pray, "Please give me patience…right now!"

  • Blaise

    Hey Mr. Mark,

    Thank you so much for writing that article. I have been suffering from stomach pain for about two months, and the doctors still don't know what it is. It discourages me, worries me, and sometimes drives me to tears. But, when I read your article, God revealed to me that he was working through the pain: he is humbling me, he has helped me to be more compassionate toward others who are suffering, he has endeared Heaven even more to me, he has kept me dependent on Him, he has shown me his strength in my weakness, he has driven me to the truth of his Word, he constantly comforts me, he has shown me his grace and driven my to gratefulness, he produced the fruit of patience in my life, which wasn't really there before. And, finally, he has drawn me closer to Him.

    God has been maturing me in himself, and this trial is a gift from God! I thank God that he used you just at the right time to reveal his glory to me. Thank you!

    • Mark Altrogge

      Wow Blaise….

      First of all, I'm so so sorry to hear about your suffering and pain. I had a case of stomach flu for about a week and it was miserable, so I can't imagine how much you pain you are going through. I'll pray for you as soon as I'm done typing this. I hope the Lord heals you – and soon. Your comments are so God-glorifying. I know he loves you and cares about you and has so much compassion on you as well. Thanks for your wonderful comments.

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