Earlier this week I spent quite a bit of time meditating on Psalm 119.
I was struck by three verses. In light of the struggles of the past month and a half, these verses amazed me and made total sense.
You are good and do good, teach me your statutes. (68)
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. (71)
I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. (75)
The last of the three boggled my mind (and still does) when I first read it. In faithfulness–not in lack of caring, not in futility, not in punishment, not in ______–you have afflicted me.
The psalmist’s conviction of this is preceded by the previous two conclusions: He knows that the Lord is good, and thus desires to learn the ways of God. And He sees that because of his affliction, he has learned the ways of God.
So what conclusion does he have to make, but that his affliction is a measure of God’s faithfulness?
As hard as it seems to accept and believe when in the throes of hardship, the psalmist’s conclusion is true.
Without affliction, we miss out on identifying with the suffering of Christ.
Without the bitterness, the sweet is not as sweet.
Without the trial, the sanctification is not as thorough.
Without the hardship, our need for Him and His Word does not seem as great.
Without the fire, the gold is not as pure.
In affliction, we experience unity with Christ as we identify with His suffering.
In affliction, the sweetness of His grace and mercy and love are made all the sweeter in comparison to the taste of the bitter pill.
In affliction, we learn the trueness of His statutes and learn to faithfully obey them.
In affliction, our need for Him becomes apparent and his Word become our protection, our hope, our security.
In affliction, our faith is tested and made more pure as we’re put through the fire.
All this, a measure of His faithfulness.