#DailyDevotion God Does Not Willingly Afflict Or Grieve Us
Lam. 3:28 Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; 29 let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; 30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. 31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33 for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.
You should see our Lord Jesus Christ here who in his youth had borne the yoke of the cross for our sake. He quietly, like a lamb before his shearers, took hold of the cross. He no doubt fell to the dust. He had given his cheeks to those who struck him in the Sanhedrin and Pilate’s court. Jesus was filled with insults in those courts and while hanging upon the cross. Yet he looked to the Father in hope believing he would be vindicated. He believed he would be raised on the third day. He believed he would not be cast off forever or forsaken. The Father laid this cross upon Jesus but he had compassion on Jesus in his steadfast love raising him from the dead on the third day and having him sit at his right hand. Yet unlike verse 33 it please the Lord to crush him for our iniquities and our sins.(Isa 53:10)
Yet our Father in heaven “does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.” This is God’s alien work. It is foreign to God to punish and discipline mankind. God’s primary will toward us is revealed in his name, Exo 34:6-7 ESV The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, (7) keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Being merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness and forgiving sin is God’s primary will towards us. Yet he also reveals his alien work and nature to visit our iniquities upon us when we sin and because we are sinful.
The Lord’s alien work to discipline, to punish, and to afflict us is not what he wants to do but must do because of holiness and righteousness as a response to our sinfulness. Yet he works his alien work to bring us to repentance, to warn us of worse things if we continue, and to discipline us so we may always look to him to use this suffering to produce in us a harvest of righteousness.
We must remember that Christ has taken our sufferings upon himself on the cross and has sanctified them. The suffering we experience when we have faith in Christ is participation in his suffering. God is using the suffering we experience in Christ prepares us to bear the eternal weight of glory. (1 Cor. 4:17) We may believe like Christ, we can have hope that the Lord will not cast us off forever but will raise us on the Last Day and clothe us with his holiness, righteousness and glory.
Gracious God and Father, help us when we experience suffering to believe you do not lay this upon us willingly, but have joined us to Christ’s suffering on the cross so we may to accomplish your good in us to bear the harvest of righteousness when it is over. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.