I believe in healing. I believe in affliction. I believe in “healing afflictions.” Any affliction that keeps me from going astray, that drives me deeper into God’s Word, is healing. As Psalm 119:67 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (NKJV). God’s most gracious healing force spiritually and physically can be afflictions.
To suggest that all pain and affliction are of the devil is to suggest that the Psalmist was driven by the devil to seek God’s Word. In my own life, I have suffered great pain. I have called on God for deliverance, and I believe him for complete healing. While I go on believing, though, I will continue to thank God for the present condition and let it serve to remind me how dependent I really am on him. With the Psalmist, I can say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).
Pain and affliction are not to be despised as coming from the devil. Such burdens have produced great men of faith and insight.
Paul spoke of the “cares” of the churches that were thrust upon him (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Every newborn church was another “care” on his shoulders. Growth, expansion, lengthening of stakes always involve new cares. The man that God uses must have broad shoulders. He dare not shrink from the challenge of numerous cares and responsibilities.
Every new step of faith God leads me to take has brought with it numerous new cares and problems. God knows exactly how many cares he can trust us with. It is not that he seeks to break us in health or strength; it is only that willing laborers are few, and the harvest is so great. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Cares are taken from those who refuse them and given as gifts to those who are not afraid of them. Every new blessing is related to a family of cares. They cannot be divorced. You cannot enjoy the blessings until you learn to live with the cares.