TO CHEW ON: “I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75
I was talking recently to a friend whose husband had a stroke seven or eight months ago. She said something like, God has seemed closer and more real through this time than ever before.
A few days before our conversation, her husband—who is now in a wheelchair and can no longer speak—had had an unexpected seizure. My friend said about that: I have unusual peace. I’m not running around agitated and fretting like I did right after the stroke because God has been faithful through this whole time and I know He’ll take us through this as well.
My friend and her situation come to mind this morning as I read the psalmist’s reaction to being “afflicted.”
[Afflicted - anah - means afflict, oppress, humble, be afflicted, bowed down.] That definition encompasses a lot. It could mean being humbled / oppressed / made to bow in a variety of ways from physical illness, to business failure, to social humiliation, and more.
The psalmist regarded his affliction as a positive thing in the three times he mentioned it:
1. It became a magnet that drew him back to God
“Before I was afflicted I went astray
But now I keep Your word” - Psalm 119:67.
2. It drove him to study God and His communication:
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted
That I may learn Your statutes” - Psalm 119:71.
3. His affliction was / is testing and strengthening his faith in God’s goodness:
“I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me” - Psalm 119:75.
[Faithfulness - emuwnah means firmness, fidelity, steadfastness, steadiness]
I understand this as God allowing these afflictions to come the psalmist's way, our way with intention—good intention.
[Fidelity means loyalty, strict observance of promises, adherence to detail.
Steadfast means fixed in direction, firm in purpose, unwavering.]
I know my first reaction to affliction of any kind is to pray: “Help! Get me out of this!” But maybe that’s not always the best prayer. Maybe a better one would be:
PRAYER: Dear Father God, please use this affliction to crowd me to You, to help me learn about You and Your ways, and to prove Your faithfulness to me and others. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.