afflictions

John Biegel
The apostle Paul spent quite a bit of time in prison. In Acts, Paul is imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16), and then spends the last quarter of the book in various prisons—Jerusalem, Caesarea—ultimately ending the book under house arrest in Rome (Acts 21–28). The letters of Ephesians, Philippians,...
The believer, by rights, is best able to bear bad news. After all, we believe that we are morally corrupt, unable to reform ourselves, and so incorrigible that the only solution was that the Son of God live and die in our place. If we can accept that, we should be able to face hard truths about our...
Johann Heermann and the Comfort of the Cross In the spring of 1630, while the Thirty-Year War raged around Europe, pastor and poet Johann Heermann wrote a hymn to inspire his congregation to meditate on Christ’s suffering. Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, that we to judge thee have in hate...
John Donne – Poet of Grace and Comfort In 1623, when a sudden illness brought the poet and preacher John Donne close to death, he expressed his lament with words that may sound relevant during our coronavirus pandemic: “Variable and therefore miserable condition of man! This minute I was well, and...
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification,” (1 Th 4:3) [1] St. Paul writes to a group of mostly non-Jewish Christians in Thessalonica who had formerly worshiped idols and casually participated in a culture steeped in sexual promiscuity. Sanctus is the Latin word for “holy”. The English word...
Paul Gerhardt and His Songs of Confident Hope In 1943, the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from his lonely prison cell, “I’ve lately learnt for the first time to appreciate the hymn, ‘Beside thy cradle here I stand.’ Up to now I hadn't made much of it; I suppose one has to be alone for a...
“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). A recent article about the corona virus, written by a London physician ends with an alarming cry: “We’re heading into the abyss.” Meanwhile, others insist that we are over-...
Patrick and His Mission Every year, we read articles about the “real” Saint Patrick – the one who didn’t drive out snakes and didn’t use a shamrock to explain the Trinity. His own account of his life, expressed in his Confessions , has become better known, but is still not commonly read. Yet, it...
For the better part of my Christian life, I've had a visceral reaction--driven by internal disapproval--whenever I've heard someone describe the hardships he or she experienced in life in the following ways: "It was like hell on earth," or "I feel like I've been through hell." I am sure that part...