“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (71)
“I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.” (75)
It’s always hard to be thankful for affliction in the moment, or as the writer of Hebrews says:
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)
But I can look back at many moments of affliction in my life that would later be counted as gracious and merciful. Sometimes it’s the discipline of being caught in sin, and allowed to experience the consequences. Sometimes its major disappointment about a failed relationship I didn’t realize was twisted or unhealthy. Sometimes it’s the weeding out of something in my life I loved, but shouldn’t have let in.
Israel experienced numerous afflictions because of their pride and idolatry. This psalmist wisely reflects on the benefits of these.
We can easily forget we are children, naive and in need of correction. We forget we are sheep, easily distracted and carried away in short sightedness. It’s no call to be embarrassed, just humble, realistic about ourselves, and thankful for a loving Father who allows us to experience various degrees of affliction.
Take some time today to thank God for an affliction which has become a harvest of righteousness and peace.