“Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” Psalm 119:69-71
Let’s camp on this last line for just a bit. “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”
So, is affliction a good thing? Can something that feels negative, still be a positive?
We have to look at the big picture. When we were kids and our parents, grandparents, or teachers doled out some type of discipline or punishment, we hated it. But if it made us better, if we followed the right path closer, was it bad or good? Looking back on my own life, I have to say that anything that made me a kinder, more honest, more compassionate, more respectful person was good, even if I didn’t like what brought about the change.
God is our Father. The psalmist realized that anything that caused him to learn God’s decrees was good for him, even if it felt like an affliction. I believe we can join the writer of this psalm in knowing that whatever happens in our lives, that draws us closer to the Lord, is good. If things help us to learn God’s Word, we can look back on it as a blessing.
Heavenly Father, there are things in my life that, when I am going through them, feel challenging and hard. Help me to remember that anything that draws me closer to You and Your Word is good.