“But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.”
The writer of Hebrews was communicating to a people that were very familiar with reproaches and afflictions. In doing so, he urged them to recall the days when, “after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” The word illuminated means “to shine light on or be made to see.” After they were illuminated, they were faced with great afflictions.
Have you ever experienced something similar? After you experienced some work of illuminating grace in your life – seeing something you had not seen before or seeing it in a different light – you were immediately met by a trial of some sort. This seems to be one of those principles, though perhaps not universal, but nonetheless very common. After you were “illuminated” or enlightened, after you saw the truth, you found yourself in “a great fight of afflictions.”
When God shows us something or gives us light, and we respond by obeying or walking in that light, we should not be surprised if that step of obedience is tested in some way. This often happens when a person is saved. He finds himself facing trials or temptations that he never experienced previously. Because he does not expect this, he may become discouraged or wonder if God is really there for him. The same thing can be true when a believer makes a new commitment to obey some truth that God has revealed or takes back some ground previously surrendered. Almost immediately, it seems that his commitment is being put to the test. TRUTH WILL BE TESTED.
There are numerous examples of this in the Scripture. When Moses announced that the Israelites would be leaving Egypt, things immediately got much worse. After Jesus was baptized, He was led into forty days of intense temptation. Soon after Joseph announced his dream, he was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. You see, it is a very common occurrence.
We should remember that Satan will try to discourage us when we are seeking to step out by faith and obey God. Let’s not allow the affliction to hinder us. Actually, God may be allowing us to be tested to demonstrate that our faith is genuine. When the truths and principles of Scripture are tested and proven in our lives, our faith is strengthened and Christ is glorified in us.