Psalm 119:71 – It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
O how sadly we have confused prosperity in this life with the blessing of God! O how sadly we have confused affliction in this life with being somehow forgotten by God! Our modern, success-driven minds simply do not have a category for the glorious truth that is revealed by God in Psalm 119:71. Take a look once more at the verse, and see what David says is good.
David declared it good that he was afflicted. Why was his affliction good? His affliction was good, because it led to his learning and treasuring the law of God. David’s tough life circumstances, his hardships, his struggles actually led to him learning to love and follow the word of God more and more in his life. This all caused David to say that it was good, actually a positive thing, that he suffered. David understood that it is far better for him to love God’s law than it is for him to be comfortable.
How radical is this kind of thinking? It certainly does not sell well. You will not hear a Psalm 119:71 sermon at a seeker-driven church or on any of our prosperity preaching pseudo-Christian television programs. Why not? Because in order to embrace the truth of Psalm 119:71, you have to embrace an eternal, God-oriented worldview. In order to love Psalm 119:71, you have to love that God is in control of all things, including your affliction, and that it is good for God to allow you to suffer if it will lead you to see his greater glory.
So, where are you today? Do you understand that God is so in control of the world that your affliction can actually be good? Do you embrace such an eternal worldview that you are willing to suffer in this life if it will lead to eternal joy in the presence of your Lord? Are you willing to give up temporary happiness in order to gain eternal soul-satisfaction? Are you willing to understand that the blessing of God does not equal a successful earthly present life? If you are willing to accept these things, then you can embrace the beautiful teaching of God found in Psalm 119:71.