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The Man In The Iron Mask

Affliction Spiritual Growth Perspective

Contributed By: Shane Waldron | Date Posted: 2020-12-15

Scripture: Isaiah 46:10 ; Isaiah 48:3

Author: Shane Waldron
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ILLUSTRATION

The film The Man in the Iron Mask tells the story of a man who is locked in a prison in 17th century France. He is also forced to wear a huge iron mask to hide his face. The man in the iron mask is Philippe, the twin brother of the king. Philippe is forced to wear the mask to hide his identity, so he won’t be a threat to the king’s reign. 

The Kingdom of France faces bankruptcy from King Louis XIV's wars against the Dutch, even as the citizens live in poverty. As the country moves toward revolution, Louis spends his time seducing countless women. 

But a group of men (The Three Musketeers) help Philippe escape from prison, abduct the king, and replace him with his twin brother. Philippe goes on to rule France as king without anyone knowing, becoming one of the greatest kings in the history of the nation. 

In the middle of the story, when Philippe is wearing that iron mask and languishing in prison, he doesn’t know why this is happening to him. He doesn’t even know that he’s the twin brother of the king. And he doesn’t know if he will ever be released. By contrast, the author of the screenplay knew that Philippe's suffering would prepare him to be a great king. 

APPLICATION

The difference between our perspective and Jesus’ perspective is like the difference between a story’s characters, and its author. The characters experience the story as it unfolds, without knowing the end. The author experiences the story as a whole. He knows the beginning, the middle, the end - all at once. And he knows how what is happening in the middle of the story is preparing the characters for the end.  

When we suffer, we can feel like Philippe. We don’t know why this is happening to us. We have no idea when it is going to end, or how it could possibly do us any good. 

But Jesus is the author of our story. He knows how it ends because He has an eternal perspective. He knows how our suffering is refining us in the furnace of affliction.  Jesus sees how it is building our character, and preparing us for what is to come. 

"Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please'" (Isaiah 46:9-10). 

Trial (Affliction) Quotes

Trial (Affliction) Quotes Trials Affliction

Source: Various

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-04-27

Scripture: Various

Author: Various
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ILLUSTRATION

“Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.” Roger C. Andersen, as quoted in THE ROTARIAN.

“Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of.” Charles Spurgeon (1834 – 1892) was a British Particular Baptist preacher, known as the Prince of Preachers.

“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC – AD 65) was a Roman Stoic philosopher,statesman, dramatist.

“We are always on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things.” Henry Ward Beecher (1813 – 1887) was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery.

“Reality show? You can't find anything better than boxing because of the trials and errors, the ups and downs, the struggle when you get knocked down to get back up. Use it symbolically and interchangeably for life.” Don King (1931 - ) is an American boxing promoter whose career highlights include promoting "The Rumble in the Jungle" and the "Thrilla in Manila.”

“Every man deems that he has precisely the trials and temptations which are the hardest of all others for him to bear; but they are so, simply because they are the very ones he most needs.” Lydia M. Child (1802 – 1880), was an American abolitionist, women's and Indians’ rights activist, novelist, and journalist.

“The Lord's mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.” Charles H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892) was a British Particular Baptist preacher, known as the Prince of Preachers.

“Life itself is simple...it's just not easy.” Steve Maraboli (1975 - ) is an internet/radio commentator, behavioral science academic, and best selling author.

“It takes darkness to be aware of the light.” Author unknown

“...the sorrows God sent us brought comfort and strength with them, while the sorrows we brought on ourselves, through folly or wickedness, were by far the hardest to bear.” L.M. Montgomery (1874 – 1942) was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables.

“Before the fruits of prosperity can come, the storms of life need to first bring the required rains of testing, which mixes with the seeds of wisdom to produce a mature harvest.” Lincoln Patz

“There are many who don't wish to sleep for fear of nightmares. Sadly, there are many who don't wish to wake for the same fear.” Richelle E. Goodrich is a modern American, writer and artist.

“Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you. However, if it taught you to hold onto grudges, seek revenge, not forgive or show compassion, to categorize people as good or bad, to distrust and be guarded with your feelings then you didn’t learn a thing. God doesn’t bring you lessons to close your heart. He brings you lessons to open it, by developing compassion, learning to listen, seeking to understand instead of speculating, practicing empathy and developing conflict resolution through communication. If he brought you perfect people, how would you ever learn to spiritually evolve?” Shannon L. Alder is a modern American author and blogger.

“Until you have stood in another woman’s stilettos, you will never begin to know the year of pain she felt breaking them in.” Shannon L. Alder is a modern American author and blogger.

“Spiritual pain is when you can’t stand another moment not knowing the real truth, and when you finally do know you can’t let go.” Shannon L. Alder is a modern American author and blogger.


“It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing. It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by men even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vainglory. When to all outward appearances men give us no credit, when they do not think well of us, then we are more inclined to seek God Who sees our hearts. Therefore, a man ought to root himself so firmly in God that he will not need the consolations of men.” Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380 – 1471) was a German cleric of the late medieval period and the author of the Christian devotional classic The Imitation of Christ.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny...” C. S Lewis (1898 – 1963), was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lec

APPLICATION

Many of the above quotes provide their own points of application. They do not necessarily represent the views of Orthodox Christianity; neither do they necessarily represent the views of Illustration Exchange.

Pain Is A Part Of The Process

Affliction Perspective Baptism

Source: "The Baptism of Aengus" from AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF IRELAND by Margaret Ann Cusack

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-09-27

Scripture: James 1:2 ; John 16:33

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

The Library Ireland recounts from AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF IRELAND the story of the baptism of King Aengus. In the year 445, the king had "already obtained some knowledge of Christianity" and requested of St. Patrick to be baptized.

Patrick carried in his hand a staff on the end of which was a sharp iron spike "by which he could plant it firmly in the ground beside him while preaching."

As he began the ceremony of the baptism, he unwittingly stabbed the foot of the king as he planted his staff in the ground. But the king made no protest at all. He "neither moved nor complained of the severe suffering he endured."

When the ceremony concluded, St. Patrick discovered his mistake and expressed his deep regret. Aengus replied that he simply thought the pain to be part of the process, so he didn't "consider suffering of any consequence at such a moment." 

APPLICATION

Indeed, pain is a part of the process. We are told to "count it all joy" WHEN we encounter trials of every kind, not IF (James 1:2). But, just like King Aengus, we should not consider suffering of any lasting consequence. "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12).

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all" (Psalm 34:19). 

Catch a Falling Tear

God's Care Mourning Affliction

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-09-27

Scripture: Psalms 56:8 ; Revelation 21:4

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Pick 'Em Up and Lay 'Em Down

Affliction Comfort God's Care

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-06-07

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3

Author: Karl Haffner
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Training for Pain Tolerance

Affliction Spiritual Growth Fellowship

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-12-29

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:8

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The Joy of Self-forgetfulness

Selfless Affliction Joy

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-12-19

Scripture: Philippians 2:1

Author: Helen Keller
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Even Superman Ducks!

God's Love Boldness Affliction

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-12-06

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:16

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Now Thank We All Our God

Thankfulness Affliction Faithfulness

Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2012-11-16

Scripture: Psalms 23:

Author: Editors, songsandhymns.org
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1-800-CHRISTIAN

Affliction Weakness God's Power

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-05-14

Scripture: Philippians 4:13

Author: Illustration Exchange
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