Monday, March 26, 2018

Psalms 119:71 -- On Appreciating Affliction

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."
Psalms 119:71

This is a hard thing to agree with sometimes I think.  I think that when we really look back and examine our lives, it is absolutely true, but it is still hard to admit, because we don't typically want to encourage affliction or experience more of it.  Paul in the New Testament was able to learn to glory in his infirmities (2 Corinthians 12:9). but it was a hard lesson, as it is for each of us.

To me, the real point here is the lesson.  Learning God's statues is basically learning the gospel and learning the gospel is really what we are constantly wanting to know from the Lord:  Why?  Why the world, why suffering, why is my life the way it is? ... all the whys, end to end, wrapped around the earth as many times as it takes to satisfy us, and they are all answered in this way, because as we grow and experience new and harder things in life, we learn.  We learn to understand the gospel.  We learn why God does what he does, and asks what he asks.  We learn why obedience is wise, and why shortsightedness and questionable motivations are questionable. :)

I think that the scriptures are one of the biggest blessings that we have, because they give us the chance to learn from the lives and sufferings of other people rather than learning those same lessons first hand.  They can spare us first-hand suffering, if we are willing to learn from them.  Not that mortality is ever going to be completely pain free, but the more we learn and trust things God has already said, the less we have to have first hand lessons about understanding that the ten commandments are some really good ideas. :)

Today, let's remember to learn from our afflictions and understand the why of all of it rather than just suffering.  Let's learn from God's word and trust that what he is teaching us is true.  Let's apply the lessons that we learn to our lives and let them change us, so that we don't have to keep learning the same lessons over and over again.  Let's take advantage of God's love for us and his kindness in teaching us, and let's learn to be kinder and more loving and less in need of the hard lessons about our own weaknesses... and when we learn to be the better, kinder, and more loving people that God is forging, let us be amazingly grateful for the afflictions that taught us how to be the better people that we are.

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