Over the next several weeks I plan to do some postings on the purpose of affliction in the life of the Christian. It seems to me that, with the past two and a half decades of pretty consistent prosperity in the USA, the evangelical church has lost some of its scriptural and historical understanding of affliction. Yet Jesus himself said, “ . . . in the world you will have tribulation . . .” It’s in the daily following of Christ through affliction that a believer demonstrates that his or her life has been truly transformed and that his or her changed life is more than a mere change of opinions. Even more, it’s in the standing together with brothers and sisters in Christ when they are undergoing hard times and bearing their burdens that the church of Jesus Christ demonstrates that it is more than a gathering of religious spectators.
First, here are some resources which have meant a lot to me over the years. The first two deal more with the philosophical reasons.
The next resources deal with the day to day living in affliction. I can remember Ravi Zacharias once saying that the problem that he had, once he realized the philosophical sufficiency of the Christian message, was now existential: it was living the life of Christ in the midst of affliction. These resources will give more direction in that area.