S180P4 – The signs of the righteous: affliction

Psa. 34:18‭-‬19

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

She was beyond competent or intelligent.  The girl was a genius, and that was noticed early on.  She had a special gift, but she also had focus and drive that her classmates did not possess or desire to develop.  As such, much of her time among her peers was spent feeling out of place.  There was a big difference between her attitude and viewpoint and those of her classmates.  She would tell her mother of the struggles of that environment, and her mother would tell her the same thing every time.  She had something her peers did not, and that made her a sort of outcast, but she would have the chance to teach the other kids what she knew.  And, despite the difficulties of being different in that place and time, she would see relief one day.

Righteousness will cause discomfort in this world.  Those who love the world instead of the Lord will experience offense when confronted with righteousness because it reflects a standard that brings conviction.  For the righteous, discomfort comes from living in a world that holds such opposing standards and operates according to them.  We will go against the grain of this world, and that will bring opposition.  The pressure of walking in righteousness in order to make a difference here refines us by many means, and affliction is one of the most impactful.  It was by affliction that the Lord brought us salvation through sacrifice, but that affliction came with relief once completed, through his resurrection and the establishment of his eternal kingdom in us.

Anyone who has tried to live by God’s kingdom standards in this world knows how difficult that can be.  Those who have died at the hands of religious persecution experienced the most extreme form of affliction, but we know that martyrdom is a gift and not a curse.  Great is the future reward for those who suffer the afflictions of the righteous, and great is their spiritual development in the here and now.  We can try to flee affliction and ask God to keep us from experiencing it, but that would rob us of so much.  Father, make us people who see and desire the blessing and value of being stricken in this world as a result of your righteousness.