The other day I was reading a portion of Ps 119 and verse 75 stood out to me. In the old NIV it says,
“I know, O Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.”
That last portion really caught my attention. “in faithfulness you have afflicted me.”
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have had a number of friends afflicted as they were removed from the work they had poured their life into. I’m not talking about a business they started, or a job they devoted themselves to. No, they poured their lives into God’s work, and in faithfulness He afflicted them.
My friends left under stress and pressure with no time to close up relationships. Some lost many of their belongings that they didn’t have time or room to take with them. Others just lost their ability to communicate with brothers and sisters in Christ that they had poured their lives into. Gone.
As I look at the situation, it appears there will be a lot of tough times ahead for many of my friends who are still in the country. I fear many of them will feel the afflictions of Christ in ways much harder than I ever have.
Why does the Psalmist under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit write, “In faithfulness you have afflicted me?”
I cannot give a clear answer, but I know it is true. In my own life, I have seen that I grow closer to God when I am afflicted. I know God better through my afflictions. Later another author under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would write “I want to know Christ, and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings…” (Phil 3:10)
Perhaps, just as I “afflict” my children with consequences in order to shape their hearts and minds, God in His love and faithfulness afflicts me to shape and mold me into His character. God, as a good father, knows that at times nothing else will accomplish His will except affliction. In our sinful condition, it is necessary.
I do not enjoy affliction, but I have come to appreciate it. Affliction drives me to prayer more than anything else. Affliction shapes me in ways prosperity and blessing cannot.
Its not a topic we as American consider offen, but suffering and affliction are all through the Bible, and they are not necessarily spoken of as bad.
So, the next time you feel afflicted, remember it is in faithfulness He has afflicted you.