It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
How often do we assume that the only good thing for God to do for us is to keep us from affliction? As several people have pointed out over the past few weeks, our prayers are too often that God would keep us from pain instead of to make us more like him. Psalm 119:71 gives s a better way to think about our afflictions than we often recognize.
David, writing in this glorious psalm in praise of God and his word, says that it is good that he was afflicted. Why? How could being afflicted or troubled ever be good? David says that being afflicted helped him to better know and love the law of God.
John Piper, at T4G 2008, pointed out that he has never met a person who says that the time they grew the most or went the deepest with God was during the time of ease. Piper pointed out that it is in the dark times, in the troubled times, in the times of near despair that many people find their faith growing the most and being the most strengthened.
How do you respond to adversity? Do you assume that troubled times means that you are in sin and being chastised by God? Do you assume that something has gone horribly wrong? Can you stretch your mind around the possibility that God could have a plan for your affliction? And is your faith strong enough to acknowledge that growing closer to God and loving his word more is reward enough to say that it is good that you were afflicted? David said being afflicted was worth it so that he might love God more through his word. We too should have that kind of attitude toward our Lord.
Add this verse from the next day’s reading:
I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.