“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.” Psalm 119:50,67-68,71,92-93
Receiving and being thankful for comfort in affliction is one thing, but being thankful for the affliction itself is quite another, and the psalmist learned the secret. It was borne of a focus not on the affliction itself, but on God’s unfailing word. It was God’s promise that gave him life, redirection, hope, and comfort. He chose, rather than to squirm and chafe in his pain, injustice, taunting, persecution, grief, loneliness, to delight in God’s law, His abiding and true word. Through it he learned, by experience and trust, that its Author was good, and does good, that the God Who gives comfort is Comfort Himself. The afflictions had buffeted him, but through their crashing power had molded him, shaped him to rest and rejoice in his loving God. It is God Who makes useful and beautiful His people through affliction.
Watching powerful waves stir and roar on the rocky coast imprints a good picture of affliction’s reward. Jagged rocks along the coast are softened to smaller round ones, and through the constant friction of tumbling in rough waves, those are ground into soft sand, shaped by the water’s force and wear. Once granular, the sand can be made into something beautiful, as in remarkable ‘blooms’ made by some mollusk at work. What a marvelous God!
Lord, may I welcome afflictions as Your instruments of refinement and learning of You. Turn my vision to what You would teach, what You promise and fulfill. Keep me delighting in Your Word made flesh, my great Redeemer Jesus, and bring forth from every affliction what will bring You glory.