"Good For Me"
"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Thy statutes" (Psalm 119:73).
Two greatly challenging truths present themselves in the Psalmist's affirmation of affliction. First, despite the benefit he confesses - "it is good for me" - it certainly does not feel good as we are experiencing pain, difficulty and loss. "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous" (Hebrews 12:11). Trouble hurts us in the moment it arrives upon our doorstep, and as long as it remains. Thus, we may find it greatly challenging to declare "It is good" in the midst of our challenges. Through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit we can do so, but the words will not flow easily from hurting hearts, or pained bodies. "I will go into Thy house with burnt offerings, I will pay my vows which my lips have uttered and my mouth hath spoken when I was in trouble" (Psalm 66:13-14).
Great challenge also accompanies our realization that learning God's statutes involves much more than merely reading and studying the Bible. Affliction serves as one of the Holy Spirit's primary teaching aides. No true knowledge of God and His Word comes without the difficulties that provide opportunity to know more than facts about Him. We must look into His face, as it were. That is, we must personally relate to our Teacher as His aide Trouble often motivates our approach to God. "Before I was afflicted, I went astray. But now I have kept Thy Word" (Psalm 119:67). Words printed upon the pages of Scripture becomes words imprinted upon our hearts as difficulty provides the backdrop for seeing more clearly the light of God. "The light shineth in darkness" (John 1:5).
The Psalmist realized that having been afflicted prepared his heart and mind for the good of growth in the Lord's Truth. He took no more pleasure in pain than do we ourselves. He realized, however, that we require trouble no less than blessing if we are to truly know our Lord. "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). Knowing that affliction, in whatever form, serves beneficial purposes in our lives may not immediately alleviate the disturbance and pain we feel in our difficulties. However, it assures our hearts that we will one day look back on our troubles in terms of goodness, God's goodness, and the learning of truths discovered not in the classroom, but along steep, rocky, and difficult pathways.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
"Christ… through He was a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered."
(Hebrews 5:5; 8)
Weekly Memory Verse
Ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.