In Our Afflictions
And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Acts 22:7
Before he became Paul the apostle of Jesus Christ, he was Saul the persecutor of Jesus Christ. However, he had never actually, as far as we know, met the Lord Jesus before he met him on the road to Damascus. So how was it that our Lord described Saul as the man who persecuted him?
It is because our Lord identifies with his people in the most intimate and personal way. The sufferings of his people were his sufferings and the abuse which they endured was abuse which he endured with them. The prophet Isaiah in fact gave this poignant description of the Savior of the people of God: "In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old" (Isa. 63:9). If that was true of Israel's redeemer then, how much more now that he has come in the flesh, become sin for us who knew no sin, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21)?
My friends, let us never forget the fact that our Savior walks with us in and through our sufferings. In our affliction he is afflicted. And because of that, we know that he will meet us with all the necessary faith and hope and grace and mercy that we need. Indeed, victory is the inevitable inheritance of those who put their trust in him (cf. Rom. 8:37).