Bible Reading: Psalm 119:75-77
“It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71)
What is our hope and joy in this uncertain world? Growing up Christian, it is easy to fall into the lie that life is ideal. Many of us believe that as Christians, everything should be fine; our hearts and emotions settled, our actions moral and pleasing to others, and our lives satisfied in living for a worthy cause. However, the reality is that affliction is always around us. We suffer a lot, whether it be because of the grim outward circumstances of life or the inner battle with anxiety, fear, heartache, and sorrow. As teenagers, we don’t really like to talk about our pain. It’s so much easier just to reject it, distract ourselves, and continue believing the lie that life is always perfect, fun and happy.
However, the psalmist says, “It is good for me that I was afflicted”. How is affliction good? How is pain good? Because, through pain and suffering, we can learn God’s statutes — His Word.
Affliction and pain are the consequences of human sin. Suffering first arrived when Adam ate the fruit and was cursed by God. Since then, suffering has been a friend of humanity. Though there are suffering out of our control, like sickness, war, and death, much of our pain is because of our sinful hearts. We are often dissatisfied, angry, fearful, and anxious because the reality is that God is not first in our hearts. In our idolatry to self, we suffer. I am not saying that when God is first, everything will always go smoothly. I am saying that because we are sinful, affliction has arrived at our doorstep.
Yet in God’s goodness and faithfulness, for His children, God works everything for good (Rom 8:28). Everything included our sins and rebellions against God. All the hardships that we endure are a God-given gift for our good. Psalm 119:75b says, “in faithfulness you have afflicted me.” In God’s love for His people, God uses affliction to rebuke and sanctify us. He uses it to tear down the sin inside us and work His holiness within us.
The psalmist back in v. 71 says, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” What is God’s plan for our affliction? He wants to use even our sin and rebellion against Him to bring us to reliance on His Word. Though all the pain, whether physical or emotional, God has actively given those things to us to teach us His Word.
Where should we go in our pain? We should seek God’s Word. v. 76 - 77 says,
“Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.”
God wants to teach us that our only hope is in His Word, in His promises. He wants to show us that only He is worthy of our submission and that our only joy should be found in Him. He wants us to know that He is the only one we can rely on. He is the only one who can address the root problem of our affliction, which is our sins. He wants us to realise that He loves us and offers us forgiveness for our sins and that by trusting in Him, we can be healed.
Where do you go in hardship? Where do you go when things don’t feel, right?
Don’t deny or ignore your suffering. Seek God.
Lord, You are my place of refuge. I want to come to You because only You can deal with the root problem of my sin. Things aren’t great, and I don’t know what to do. The world tells me lies, but only You are the Truth who can show me the light. Please help me and give me Your Word. As Psalm 119:176 says, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments”. Have mercy on me; forgive me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.