If God is going to use you, you will find yourself in the classroom of isolation, confusion, and despair – there’s no way to escape that place. Pastor David Wilkerson
While those are the words of Pastor Dave, (1931-2011) they could easily been said by any godly person, from Genesis to today. When the Lord loosens the protective hedge about us and allows – perhaps even orchestrates – crushing circumstances He does so with great purpose and eternal value.
As with any classroom, two factors matter greatly:
How prepared are we for this class? When times are calm, prosperous, healthy, and harmonious – are we pressing in, preparing for eventual storms and tests of faith?
Secondly, in which direction are we facing in this classroom – towards the Great Teacher, fixing our eyes upon Jesus – or are we gazing out the window towards the world and its remedies and ways?
Pastor Dave always said, “Don’t waste your afflictions!”
I cringe with amazement as I remember all the sorrows, trials, deep waters, flaming fires and powerful afflictions. And usually when afflictions came, they came not just one at a time, but in bundles. Many times I thought, “There’s no way I can make it through this.”
Even the memories of afflictions are painful — memories of slander, chastenings of the Lord, ministry trials, personal buffetings, family problems, bodily pains and aches. Yet, as I recall those years of suffering, I can say with assurance, “God’s word is true! He brought me out of every affliction that came upon me. I praise him!” (devotional article found here )
While the devil and carnal religion would lull us with false securities, God’s word warns us of “terrible times” in these last days. Those clinging to His word will endure fiery trials and even anguish, knowing that ‘nobody threshing the wheat forever’ (Isaiah 28:28)
“Encourage us Father, as we study the profound examples of Your faithfulness through the lives ‘ordinary people’. Reveal more of Yourself and living truths in our classroom of affliction so that “when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold”. And Lord, if we falter or stumble at times in this painful classroom, shield us against the devil’s snare of guilt and condemnation. Amen.”