Adversity and affliction

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:18-21

How anxious do you get? Do you get the feeling of being condemned and rejected by God? Depression and mind illness can cause us to be very negative and our minds produce thoughts featured with doubts and fears. When we go wrong, there is the attendant guilt and sometimes an overwhelming impression of blame. This is a difficult mind set and causes people so much fear and anguish.

We believe the Word of God and try to obey it. We have put our trust in Jesus, the only Saviour, and know with all our hearts that He alone can save us. Yet at points in our life we can find ourselves in the pit of despair. It is a dreadful place and getting out of it is painful and takes time. This passage from Isaiah is particularly helpful and assures us of hope in the Lord.

God does send adversity and allows us to be troubled. When our minds are not working properly, we can think and do things that we would not normally do. It seems that God goes out the window and we succumb to wrong behaviour and speaking. It is like “self” has got the upper hand and has taken over calling the shots.

Which is the real “us?” If we are having a crisis, we can make life-changing decisions that affect us and the people around us in a big way. Because we are not thinking clearly, and emotion and delusional thinking are happening in our heads, we don’t really know what we are doing nor are we thinking about the implications. When we start to become clearer, it is terrible to look back at our behaviour and try to make sense of it. We feel ashamed of our sin and foolish decisions. We want to be forgiven, but God seems silent. We look into the Scripture to find comfort and healing.

Where is God? Why does He allow His child to suffer like this? Where is His sovereign will? Who’s fault is the fallout? Every day is a battle to get through and feel “normal.” Keeping busy works sometimes, but thoughts of our sinfulness and the holiness of God, bring anxiety.

It is so hard to know the answers. Isaiah says “we will weep no more.” When we cry for help God our Father will answer us. He will not leave us without comfort, but will come to us. We long to know the liberty of living in His free air.

God is gracious and rises to show us compassion. Do not loose hope. Do not let go of your faith. We are to “wait for Him” God will keep His people safe, though we may not know the outcome of His purposes or understand all the things that happen to us. The end of the passage says that God will guide us and show us the way. We might not see it, or think that the places God requires us to go, are a good idea, but we trust in Him. The Lord of all knows what He is doing and He will love His people and act justly at all times.

The bread of adversity and water of affliction will not last forever. We will learn how to get out of the pit. God forgives us, and we have to forgive ourselves and realise we are worth something and learn to care for ourselves. We build our confidence to take on the different aspects of our life and become humbled and with a grateful attitude for what we have or can do. God can restore things that human beings can’t. We wait for Him, our loving God, to lift us up as we climb out of the pit and get our lives back. We stay well in gratefulness and love to the one who keeps us each day.