It is important that we remind ourselves here that all afflictions are not the result of actual sin. Adam in his original sin brought all mankind into a state of sin and misery. Job said in 14:1 “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (cf. 5:7). Also, Paul says in II Timothy 3:12 “…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (cf. Galatians 5:11). While it is ill-advised to read the providence of God in afflictions, there are times in our lives when we can look back and say, ‘this affliction is the result or consequence of my sin.’ Whether this is the case or not, afflictions make us spiritually sensitive. In sorrow we see more clearly the frailty of the flesh, the vanity of mankind and the sinful tendencies of our own hearts.

Afflictions remind us of sin.  History teaches nothing more emphatically than that unmingled prosperity is one of the chief sources of national and individual degeneracy. Pride and fullness of bread (Ezekiel 16:49) embolden wickedness, inflate insolence, become the aliment of angry dissention, collisions of interest, and pervading corruption” (Rev. Gardiner Spring, The Mission of Sorrow). This is the reason why the preacher said it is better to go to the house of mourning; to lay it to heart (Ecclesiastes 7:2). Job said through his sufferings, “I abhor myself” and Paul tells the Galatians to take heed when they see a brother being overtaken in a fault, lest

[you] also are tempted (Galatians 6:1). The constant presence of affliction, either personal or perceptible ought to humble us before God (II Chronicles 33:12; Job 23:10).

Afflictions restrain us from sin. Having that sense of corruption and abhorrence, the Christian will naturally and penitently look to the Lord for deliverance, strength and encouragement (Job 42:6). It was in times of affliction that Israel was most sensitivity to their spiritual condition. Jeremiah 22:21 “I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice.” The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:67, 71 “Before I was afflicted I went astray:… It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” It is to our benefit to pray that the Lord would give grace in affliction, not necessarily removal of the affliction but grace in and through the suffering (Amos 4:6; Hosea 4:17).