The Bread of Adversity
"And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher." Isaiah 30:20 Does God GIVE believers adversity and affliction? Most churches thrive on teaching people how to avoid or reverse adversity. They'll tell you to find Scriptures to use to turn your affliction away. They'll quote "By his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5) and say that if Jesus bore the stripes, that legally entitles us to healing, so let's just claim that passage and if we can force enough faith, God simply has to heal us. Right? Of course not. If that would "work," many who have claimed it would have been healed. I have personally known MANY believers who "stood" on that passage and others like it ...and then died. It wasn't a lack of faith on their part, I'm speaking only of true and mature believers who truly believed they were going to be healed because the Word of God demands it. And then ...they died. So then, what DOES it mean? Let's start with a promise those people do NOT stand on. Jesus said: "In the world you will have tribulation;" John 16:33 And he said: "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will SUFFER persecution." 2 Timothy 3:12 Do you see anyone "claiming" that they must have tribulation because the Word of God promises it? Do you see anyone "claiming" persecution because the Word of God promises it? Funny how they pick and choose pleasant promises, but would never, ever, "claim" promises like these. You can't have it both ways, grabbing the pleasant and rejecting the unpleasant. Most "name it and claim it" teachers tell their followers to use this or that formula to reverse afflictions without realizing that God, for his own purposes and according to his own wisdom - HE is the one who brings a blind person into the world, or one mute, or one deaf. "So the Lord said to him, 'Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?'" Exodus 4:11 The great apostle Paul did not "name" or "claim" healing when a dear friend was sick: "Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have LEFT in Miletus SICK." 2 Timothy 4:20 Paul left his good friend Trophimus ...sick. Because God did not choose at that time to heal him. So what about the promises? Are they not to be "stood on?" They are, but under a vital, bottom-line condition, and that is when the Lord personally speaks his response to your prayers. We are to take our afflictions to the Lord and ask for healing or deliverance, or for whatever our need is. Then we are to wait for God's response. He may speak a Scripture to your heart. If he does so, and confirms it (sends the same word to you twice or three times) then yes, that's when you "stand on" the Word. But not until you receive it from God himself, and confirmed. All the promises will be received when we enter heaven, but that is not guaranteed as we walk through our pilgrimage on earth. But be ready to accept that sometimes the answer is going to be "No." One day while out walking, the Lord suddenly spoke to me: "I am not going to heal you in this lifetime, but I am going to bless you all around it and I want you to enjoy those blessings." That was several years ago, and he has done EXACTLY that. I continue in the affliction, but I could write a book on the unfolding of that promise and how accurate it was. The apostle Paul had a demonic spirit following him, a "messenger of Satan" causing him much harassment. Paul went to the Lord three times asking to be released from this vexation (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). Notice how Paul did not speak to God about this once and then "thank" him for the answer. No, he went again. And then when he still didn't have an answer, he went a third time, and God finally answered him, and the answer was "No!" “My grace is sufficient for you.” God doesn't just arbitrarily say no - he has a very good and loving reason for it, and he is ultimately intending your blessing to be something greater than what he said "no" to. Friends, we must be ready to accept it when God says "No." Or "Not now." And that can be a bitter pill to swallow if you're suffering. Looking more closely on the passage we're discussing, notice that it is the "BREAD" of affliction and the "WATER" of adversity. Bread and water ....two essentials for life. The Word of God is telling us that affliction and adversity are necessary elements in our lives. From my observations over many years, I have noted that when a person remains humble before God while going through affliction, sometimes the blessing that comes later is absolutely astounding, beyond anything hoped for. It happened to me. After the darkest time in my life, a blessing came later that totally changed the course of my entire future. God is faithful, and on this you can truly trust. He is faithful, and he will bring you through it. THAT, you can stand on!