We are allowed to remind God of our affliction. He knows our affliction and does not forget it. However, many times we are compelled to feel our affliction, owing to our striving in faith, is not fading away. We even begin to think whether God is noticing it. At these times He allows His Spirit to lead us to remind Him of it; for He desires to respond to our pain in a comforting way. He gives us the freedom to express our pain to Him in full. He wills to bear our burden and take the huge weight off our shoulders. All afflictions are hard to bear and some exist longer than we have imagined or can bear. We are allowed to tell Him of them. Many factors cause affliction. For one we have the world that thinks and acts entirely different to the will and commands of God. Then, there are the works of Satan, false brethren, enemies of the gospel and righteousness and believers with little understanding of the Lord’s ways.
It is highly impossible to eradicate or maneuver around afflictions with our strength and cleverness. When we do it, we hurt ourselves at some point, at times severely. God’s people always knew where to turn to when striving with afflictions. To them it’s a no-brainer. And David ventured to say, “Remember, O LORD, on David’s behalf, all his affliction” (Ps. 132:1). The moment we begin to pray in such fashion, God sends His peace into us. The immediate effect we feel is His presence that has never left us. There is certain reassuring encouragement that comes from Him. Our hearts are filled with serenity. Suddenly our worry caused by affliction disappears, though the affliction itself may still remain. We understand that He has His ways and plans toward us and that He is working for a worthy outcome. To ask Him to remember us in all our affliction heralds that we have been called, anointed and set apart for Him. It is for these reasons David asked Him to remember him in all his affliction on his behalf. What is man that God should remember his affliction on his behalf, except when he is His chosen one?
One reason David was able to offer such prayer is he was trained by God for it. He trained him so that he is not overwhelmed in life under any circumstances. When He sends His Spirit into us, it is one of His objectives that we, as His people, remain secure in peace. God knows Satan’s wish, i.e. we give up under affliction. Therefore, He takes up the work of training us to seek Him that His purpose to us is fulfilled. When we practice that which He taught us we become victorious in life. With victory come many rewards and blessings. Hence, while afflictions can destroy us, they can even more be a cause for our glory.
There is a profound reason behind the glory we receive. By the practice we undertake God takes upon Himself to ensure we are victorious. He performs an intense work in us. It is reflected in the act of Jesus. “And He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple” (Mark 11:16). You see, He does not let any wicked thing, immoral act, worthless attitude to abide in us; He removes those that are present. He is in full control of us. We gave Him such authority through seeking Him. One of the things afflictions cause besides giving pain is making us crisply realize who God is, His principles, His desires and the things we must long for. Then, the world and all its contents become worthless and intangible to us. And the power He sends into us when we seek Him works vehemently against everything lined up to destroy us. How else can we envisage living in peace? We are His temple and He guards it with all His might.
Another profound reason for our glory is that God knows us full well, more than we can imagine. Sometimes we even forget what we have done or thought, but He doesn’t. He remembers every prayer we offered for every affliction, even the exact words and feelings. He remembers our tears, though at the moment we are without them by the peace He granted us. He remembers that we reminded Him of our affliction. He girds Himself to give us victory and the things with it, because He saw us just as He envisioned. And believe the Word, He knows us from the inside. “Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do You know me?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you’” (John 1:48). God did not come in the flesh to give us salvation alone, but to intimate us of His strengths and to make us feel comfortable with His power. Through Jesus He demonstrated how well He can know us. Our righteousness, faith and obedience that reflect in our calling upon Him do not go unaccounted.
There are factors responsible for a life of glory. Reflecting on them gives us confidence for it.
1. God’s call. “And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting’” (Acts 9:5). If He did not reveal Himself to us, our glory is earth bound and to be doomed. Until we have heard Him call us, we were all persecutors of Christ in one way or another, being led astray by sin. It is only with His intervention through His Word that we obtained the pleasure of receiving true glory. Paul knew exactly what untainted, unwavering and peace-giving glory is only after facing Jesus. As Saul, he only assumed a glory he believed was attained by his endeavors. And what a distinctive glory he experienced as Paul – with afflictions, but not without victory!
2. God’s grace. “Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia” (2 Cor. 8:1). We realize it much more in times of affliction. The power of God that produces peace in us leads us to reveal His grace through us. In afflictions we become a people He wants. He gives us the mind of Christ, who being rich became poor that we become rich. He then spreads the news of our faith and commitments.
3. God befriending us. Because we go through afflictions under His helping hand, He draws plans and executes them for our well-being. We heeded His Word and have become hostile to the world to befriend Him. He never lets it go. “Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Jam. 4:4).
4. God’s ultimate vision. His ulterior motive behind giving us glory in this life is that He chose us to see Him face to face in His eternal home. The glory He bestows on us reflects His choice of us which in turn reflects our way of life for Him. We are put forth as the reason of His that heaven exists. “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands” (Rev. 7:9).