Good Affliction (Psalm 119:71)

It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.

Psalm 119:71

Sometimes tough times have a larger purpose than we can readily see. Sometimes we need to be knocked down a peg so that we become teachable. And those are a couple of the possible understandings of what the psalmist wrote.

The psalmist writes that it is good for [him] that [he] was afflicted. The word afflicted could also be translated humbled. It is good for us — all of us — to be reminded of where we actually stand. We need to remember that we are not as strong as we think ourselves and less than half as wise. I know that I am wont to lose sight of just how little I can actually bear up under and God allows affliction to remind me of how desperately I need Him. I also am wont to forget how foolish I can be when I lose sight of His Word, so He allows me to be humbled through bad decisions or things not working the way I think they should. He has done something very like that at work recently. Things have not been proceeding the way I thought they would and trying to get my mind around the full scope of the problem has not gone well. But, when I remembered that The Bible, in Proverbs, says that in multitude of counsel is victory and I presented the issue to coworkers, a solution began to take shape. The solution is not fully realized, but that is as may be. All success comes from God and He will grant me wisdom or give others insights that will resolve the issue in His own good time.

And the preceding led, without me thinking on it to deeply, straight through to what the psalmist concluded. Affliction; humbling leads me back to God’s Word. The problem humbles me and makes me see the limits of my insight. From there, I am reminded of what God’s Word says. And the circumstances bring clarity to what might have otherwise been a difficult concept to grasp.

It is good to be afflicted; humbled that I might learn God’s statutes. I am not going to seek out affliction, but I need to learn to accept it, when it comes, as from the hand of God. That, ultimately, is where it came from. And it comes to teach.

Thank You, Father, for the affliction that teaches; that crystallizes Your Word into more than letters on a page; into principles I can apply to my life. Please help me to see that affliction for what it is and to cooperate with it and learn.


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