Many believers don’t want to believe that they will suffer hardship or know pain, but scripture has a very different word for us.
- “Let not the floodwater overflow me, nor let the deep swallow me up…Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good…and do not hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in trouble” (Psalm 69:15-17, NKJV). Clearly waters of affliction flood the lives of the godly.
- “For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs.… We went through fire and through water” (Psalm 66:10-12). Who brings us into a net of afflictions? God himself does.
- “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I keep Your word…. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Psalm 119:67, 71). These verses make it perfectly clear. It’s good for us—it even blesses us—to be afflicted.
Consider the Psalmist’s testimony: “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications…. The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!” (Psalm 116:1-4). Here was a faithful servant who loved God and had great faith; yet he faced the sorrows of pain, trouble and death.
We find this theme throughout the Bible. God’s Word loudly declares that the path of the faithful is through the floods and fires: “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth…. I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19). “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:2). “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” (Isaiah 41:13).
This last verse holds an important key: In every wilderness we face, our Father is holding our hand, yet only those who go through the wilderness get this hand of comfort. He outstretches it to those who are caught in raging rivers of trouble.