Affliction, or pain, strongholds, "issues", etc.... could be the very thing that either keeps us focused on JESUS or causes us to fall. There is purpose in that!
GOD uses the enemy for HIS Own purposes in our lives. Spiritual maturity can really only be achieved with challenge, or struggle.
Job 1:8-12 even tells us that satan is limited in his power to afflict us, and can only do so, as GOD allows him to.
~ Job 1:12 ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 ~
Some believe that it is GOD HIMSELF Who has taken the initiative to see that we endure certain struggles. But don't allow this realization to give us a wrong concept of GOD'S Character. HIS disciplines, or reprimands, are not without purpose. (Job 1:8, Psalm 32:4; 51:8; 17; 107:11-12)
The Holy Bible tells us consistently and constantly of the suffering required of Believers.
~ Psalm 34:19 ~ Daniel 7:21 ~ Acts 5:41; 9:16; 14:22 ~ Romans 8:17-18, 35-37 ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 10-11, 16-18; 6 :4-10; 11 :24-28 ~ Philippians 1:29; 3:8-10; 4:12-13 ~ Colossians 1:24 ~ 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:12; 3:12 ~ Revelations 2 :10; 6 :9-10; 13:7 ~ Hebrews 10:32-33; 11:35-38; 12:11; 13:13 ~ 1Peter 1:6-7;4:1-2, 12-13, 19; 3:14, 17; 5:10 ~
JESUS described The Way as "narrow" and HE said that few would find it in Matthew 7:13-14. HE never promised to remove our storms, but HE did promise to Keep us through them. (John 16:33, Psalm 34:19, Isaiah 43:2, Matthew 24:6-9,13)
So, when we go to HIM in prayer, begging for HIM to remove our affliction, let us think of Paul and how he went to The LORD three times asking HIM to remove whatever it was that was causing him struggle.
There is so much to talk about on this topic, and I believe we definitely need to continue on it and really dive into Scripture. Because even if we look into history, while there were great and horrible persecutions, the church as a whole grew rapidly with many who were ready, willing and able to die for their Faith in JESUS CHRIST.
There is purpose in our pain. There is purpose in our afflictions. There is purpose in those things we would rather just give in to. There is purpose in suffering! One of those purposes is to keep us focused on The Cross, and to stay our eyes on JESUS! Because Only HE can Keep us through the storm. Amen.