Merriam-Webster defines the word “affliction,” as “a cause of persistent pain or distress,” “great suffering.” Then dictionary.com defines it as, “a state of pain, distress, or grief; misery,” and “a cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution.”
Affliction can also be the result of persecution from those around you. Family, friends, co-workers, or those you live around may cause mental distress. This type of suffering does not always come at the hand of a declared enemy. Trials come in various forms whether they be from the loss of a loved one, divorce, financial challenges, or physical or mental ailments.
Most women are innate nurturers who are naturally strong, but sometimes the pressure of life and unanswered prayers can be burdensome. We are expected to hold it together, especially for our families, which isn’t always easy. When we find ourselves afflicted with physical or mental distress, we find ourselves employing coping mechanisms that are not always healthy.
Just as the affliction may come by way of countless sources and attack different facets of our lives, so do we also learn to handle them in various manners. Sometimes we avoid those who love and care for us, or block ourselves off from the outside world altogether. To escape the pain, we may sleep more, or eat more than normal. Some women deal with afflictions through:
All of these methods are unhealthy for our mind, body, soul, and the relationships we form with others.
The Bible shares many stories of women who suffered some form of affliction. Yet, their suffering was to draw them and others closer to God, that He would be glorified. I am reminded of Mary the mother of Jesus. Can you imagine being engaged and your fiancé is expecting to marry a virgin, and you have to tell him that you’re pregnant?
People in the community were surely talking about her. Here is this young girl who is suddenly pregnant and she isn’t married. Her fiancé thought about breaking off the engagement (Matthew 1:18-19). Everything he expected changed into something that may have been difficult to conceive. It was a blessing, but Mary and Joseph had to go through the test. Her obedience to God and trust in Him led her to be a vessel for a gift to be endowed on future generations, including you and me. Read her story (Luke).
Ruth, the Moabite experienced affliction. Her husband died prior to having children. She pledged to her mother-in-law, Naomi that she would go wherever Naomi went and make it her home, and that the God Naomi served would become her God. In the midst of her bereavement, she left her home and set out on the road to a strange land. Meeting Boaz was a blessing to Ruth not only in the way of provision for work, but also finding a husband who was compassionate and kind. Read her story (Ruth).
If ever there was a woman who faced persecution it was Esther. She married King Ahasuerus, learned that one of his trusted counsel, Haman, had planned to kill her and her people, and risked her life by approaching the king who had not called her. Despite the persecution of her and her people at the hand of Haman, Esther was able to turn the attack back on the enemy. She accomplished this through her and the people praying and fasting (Esther 4:16-17). Read her story (Esther).
Sometimes our afflictions come at our own hand. Take Eve for instance, her every need was provided by the Lord. She was blessed with a life of abundance. Yet, her lack of obedience and bad decision caused her to lose it (Genesis 3). Eve recognized God’s grace and favor on her life despite her sin, in the birth of her son (Genesis 4:1).
Elizabeth was barren until her old age (Luke 1:7). Women often desire to conceive and nurture life. Many women become hopeless and depressed when they can’t procreate, and it affects every area of their lives. Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, were righteous people, always serving the Lord. Despite her failure to reproduce, she did not turn away from Almighty God. In time, she conceived and gave birth to a son, John the Baptist. It did not happen when she wanted, but in God’s own time He brought it to pass, because He had a plan for the family.
Hagar, Sarah’s servant, faced abuse, injustice, prejudice, and despair (Genesis 16:6) after she became prideful for giving birth to a son for Abraham when Sarah could not. When she was sent away to the desert, God saw her distress and provided for her and her child. Hagar was promised that she would become the mother of a nation (Genesis 16:10), a parallel of Abraham’s promise.
Regardless of what your affliction may be, or whatever burden you’re carrying the Lord will see you through. It may not happen in the timeframe that you expect, but He will do it in His time, Kairos. The Lord is faithful to deliver you. Although it may be taking a long time, continue to keep your focus on Him. Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.” He has a plan for your troubles, suffering, and pain. Allow Him to work in you, through you, and for you.
I have learned in life that whatever my circumstance and whatever challenge I face, there is always someone else who’s going through worse. It’s difficult to consider something worse, when you’re in the midst of your pain. The burden can be so heavy you don’t care if there are people going through worse. You simply want your misery to end. Trust that it’s not over and you will survive. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
When afflictions arise in your life stand on the Word of God and pray. If you already have a prayer life, go deeper, if you don’t, it’s never too late to start. His Word will be your strength and His presence will be your fortress. When the pressure becomes too much, and you’re overwhelmed immerse yourself in what His Word says. It will bring you out and draw you closer to Him. Psalm 119:71 “It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.”
In my recent novel, A Woman’s Design: Afflictions, three best friends are suffering because of choices they have made, or those made by their loved ones. They don’t instantly turn to prayer and the Word of God. They struggle to find themselves in the midst of the darkness and pain. Their afflictions lead them into deeper struggles. Read more here: A Woman’s Design: Afflictions.
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About Chelle Ramsey...
Women's fiction author and blogger, Chelle Ramsey brings a refreshing perspective into the lives of her readers and wants them to find entertainment, healing and inspiration in each novel. Using real problems and challenges faced by ordinary people, Chelle wants readers to become empowered to rise above life's adversities, with faith in God, and belief in themselves.
Her stories are relatable to individuals of diverse demographics, who have suffered a loss, been hurt, have low self-esteem, have lost hope, or need a word of encouragement. She strives to take your emotions on a roller coaster ride, one page at a time. Chelle holds an MBA in Human Resource Management, which she puts to use in her Human Resources role by day, while she writes her fiction novels at night. And in her spare time, she’s a blogger, freelance writer, and ghostwriter.
Her most important roles are those of a wife and mother of three. During her “me time,” she becomes enraptured with the enthralling stories of Terry McMillan, Nora Roberts, James Patterson and Stuart Woods. Chelle Ramsey resides in a rural community in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoys writing, family time, and watching NBA games.
She hosts the annual 20 Days of Love authors’ blogging campaign, March Madness authors’ giveaways campaign, and showcases other authors on her blog at www.chelleramsey.com/beautifully-inspired-blog. Her novels can be found online at Chelle Ramsey Amazon.
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