Going through challenges and difficulties is not fun. Have you noticed though that when you have made it through those trying times, we often can look back on them and see how we are better people because of them?
The Psalmist makes this observation in Ps. 119:71 which says,
“It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.”
There is a form of affliction that the writer now sees as beneficial for him to have experienced. How could suffering be helpful for him? He says that it allowed him to learn God’s ways.
What may have caused this affliction to come upon him? The answer seems to be a couple of verses earlier when he said in verse 67,
“Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.”
Experiencing the discipline of the Lord, as an earthly loving father would correct his children, is something that God can use to get us back on his path. It is not always the reason for trials, but it can be a reason. In this case, as the Psalmist reflected on his life, he saw that he was disobedient, and it was affliction that helped him see the error of his ways and get him back on God’s path. He now can say that he loves to keep God’s Word.
We all stray and God is not out there waiting to zap us, but when we persist in sin, he may discipline his children. That is why it is important to keep short accounts with God. Walk in moment-by-moment fellowship with him and confess sin when you become aware of it to get back on God’s path. Ask God for a pliable, teachable heart that is willing to follow him and his ways.
Father, thank you for loving us enough that you want us to live lives of faithfulness and obedience. Give us your grace to be teachable and keenly aware when we have strayed so that we can confess that sin and get back on your path for us. Help us also to become progressively more like Jesus and love your Word as he does.
Following Jesus with you,