The worse that happens, the best can result, eventually. Looking back on matters, it doesn’t seem to make much sense, but the right response to difficult problems in life is what makes all the difference; and Psalm 119 concurs.
We all have troubles, distresses, tumults, afflictions.
Take these verses on “affliction,” together with the psalmist’s response and notice the process at hand, in the first person:
1) What I was like, now how I am;
2) Affliction facilitated my learning;
3) Even in afflicting me, God is being faithful; and,
4) Knowing all this helps me obey God’s will, which saves my spiritual life:
1. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (v. 67)…
He is motivated to obey God’s Word now because he knows of the protection abiding in God normally affords. He ran astray (then) because his life had a less meaningful bent to it. Affliction brought meaning…
2. “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (v. 71)…
So many of us have learned the hard way--a wonderful lesson enshrined in pain--if it weren’t for the hardships, and our appropriate godly responses, we’d be stuck in that hell-of-a-life of ignorance, untruth and denial still.
3. “I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (v. 75)…
God is always entirely faithful, yet at times we’re blind to this fact. Take the Footprints tract. This testifies to God’s unshakable faithfulness to carry us through the battles of life, though we’re in that moment of trial wondering where on earth he is--it is us, however, that abandons him and not the other way around.
4. “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction… I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life” (vss. 92-93).
The fact that God’s code was hidden (see Psalm 119:11) in the heart of the psalmist has saved him for once, for all! It is the knowledge of faithfulness, and strength in adversity that he both knows, and has shown via his deeds, the faith required of the right response in suffering and dread.
The most afflicted in life--provided they respond in the right way--end up the most blessed. This is the way that God works to equalise the world. God is no respecter of particular persons; he plays no favourites! He gives opportunities to those least blessed to turn it all around in his holy name.
“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him” –Psalm 119:1-2 (Msg).
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
All Scripture uncited is from the New International Version.