NORMAN — “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statures.” — Psalm 119:71
We live in the information age, filled with much learning and knowledge. Ironically, it seems fewer and fewer of us are coming to learn and know ourselves.
I remember as a young boy reading a tract titled, “Thank God For A Heart Attack.” The writer of that tract told of how much the Lord had taught him during the course of his sickness and recovery. He was grateful that, through his pain and sickness, he had learned so much of the Lord and even himself. Consider now the words of the Psalmist.
First of all, notice he says “it is good for me.” I usually think pain is anything but “good for me.” In my pride and arrogancy of sin, I view pain as a distraction, an obstacle to living my life as I wish it to be. Therein may be the problem. Maybe I am seeking too much control, too much authority over my life and need the issue of pain to cause me to seek the Lord, to seek His will for my life.
The Psalmist, after seeking the Lord, evaluated that such use of pain was “good for me.” What a tremendous process to come to the point of seeing that your pain was actually bringing “good” about in your heart and life. It certainly bears out the words of Paul in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Positive things are accomplished through pain in those who will love God and serve Him.
Secondly, notice he said that he needs to “learn.” A great need today is for us to be willing and wanting to “learn” from the teaching of God. The Psalmist came to that conclusion through dealing with his pain. I am reminded of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” as characterized in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Paul begged the Lord to remove that pain from his life. The Lord refused. He told Paul there was grace and strength for Paul to experience through having to live in that pain — grace and strength which could not be experienced except through pain. Paul accepted it and even rejoiced from it.