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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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I will bring the one–third through the fire . . . They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”—Zechariah 13:9 (NKJV)
God doesn’t do things the way we would. If you’ve been a believer in Christ for more than ten minutes, you know this to be true. He’s so creative, so wise, and so ahead of us in every conceivable way. So much so that He uses things in our lives for our good that we would never expect or imagine.
For example, when we’re in a place of sin, God will employ a tool to get us to where we belong . . . a tool that none of us would put on the proverbial drawing board: afflictions! That’s right! God, knowing that our sin is taking us down a destructive path, will actually afflict us for the purpose of putting us on a path of life. He wounds us in the short-term for the sake of healing us in the long-term.
This is what the prophet Zechariah describes for us as it pertains to God’s dealing with the nation of Israel. While they’re in a state of waywardness, the Lord promises to bring one-third of them through the fires of affliction. This was not done to utterly destroy them, but to bring them to a place of repentance and restoration. God knows affliction is what’s needed in order to secure a joyful ending.
We can also see this in Jonah’s life. It was in Jonah’s deepest affliction that he cried out to the Lord. This is what it took for Jonah to reach the breaking point where God could rebuild him: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice” (Jonah 2:2 NKJV).
You know what’s coming next, don’t you? If this is God’s method with Israel as a nation, and Jonah as an individual, it’s going to be His method with us, as well. Not every affliction in life is part of this equation. Sometimes afflictions are a part of life on earth.
But rest assured, when we’re in a place that’s spiritually dangerous for us, when we’re on a path that leads to destruction, God will wound in the short-term for the sake of healing in the long-term. Our Heavenly Father values our holiness and wholeness above our comfort, and in His great love, He will touch one for the sake of the other.
DIG: What role do afflictions play in God’s purposes? What principle guides God in allowing afflictions in our lives?
DISCOVER: When has God touched your comfort in order to build your holiness?
DISPLAY: If you’re going through a season of affliction, pray and ask the Lord to use this time to do His work, that you would experience the fullness of what God has for you and wills for your life. If you know someone in a season of affliction, pray with them for the Lord’s great work to take shape in their life.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.