A Closer Walk
Show of hands. Who wants to be first in line for some more suffering? Anyone? "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered," Hebrews 5:8 NASB. If Jesus, the Only Begotten, learned obedience from the things He suffered, should we, as adopted children and fellow heirs, expect anything different?
"Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord...Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word," Psalm 119:65 and 67 NASB. The Psalmist states plainly that before he was afflicted he went astray. Now, having passed through the affliction, he keeps God's word. He learned obedience from his suffering. An affliction or an episode of suffering has a way of refocusing us. It may cause us to realign our priorities. Perhaps even to redirect our efforts.
"It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn thy statutes," Psalm 119:71 NASB. The Psalmist tells us that he believes it was good for him to have been afflicted, because it helped him to learn God's statutes. He was driven to seek out God's word and to learn from it because of his affliction. He redirected his efforts and realigned his priorities so he could learn from the Scriptures. We can do the same. In fact, affliction and suffering seem to drive us into the arms of our Lord. We often seek refuge in Him during those times. As people, we may get caught up in the so-called rat race of life, but an affliction or suffering will help us to have clear eyes and clear sight so we may understand and discern what is important, and even more, what is not.
"I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me," Psalm 119:75 NASB. Continuing his instruction the Psalmist says clearly, that his affliction came out of God's faithfulness. God's faithfulness to him. Because of our God's faithfulness, He may provide affliction or suffering for us as well. It could be either our own, or that of a loved one. Because of His faithfulness. These times help to redirect our energy and efforts toward Him and His Kingdom. Because He is faithful to us as well.
"If Thy law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction," Psalm 119:92 NASB. Revealing his heart, the Psalmist informs us that he would have perished in his affliction, except that God's law was his delight. Delighting in God's law he believes, saved him in his affliction. A Pastor once said, "We shouldn't tell God how big our mountain is, we should tell our mountain how big our God is".
"I will never forget Thy precepts, For by them Thou hast revived me," Psalm 119:93 NASB. The Psalmist was revived by God's precepts. According to him, he was both saved and revived by God's law and precepts.
Why would our God tell us all of this? It seems He wants us to know that in our affliction and suffering, which come out of His faithfulness to us, His Holy Word will provide comfort and help in our distress. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us," Romans 8:18 NASB.
“He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, That shadows a dry thirsty land; He hideth my life in the depths of His love, And covers me there with His hand, and covers me there with His hand,” chorus from “He Hideth My Soul” by Fanny J. Crosby and William J. Kirkpatrick, published 1890.