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The Blessings of Affliction
Do good to your servant according to Your Word, O Lord. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in Your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your Word.
You are good, and what you do is good. Teach me Your decrees!
Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in Your Law.
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
The Law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
I am walking in this truth right now. Oh how rich this message is! Until we have a revelation of God’s love, it’s easy to see the Old Testament as an endless series of proofs of God’s anger and judgment and vengeful wrath. But once you experience even a small dose of God’s love, you begin to see that it is God’s patient and enduring love that allows suffering to come as a consequence for persistent sin in order to drive the suffering son or daughter back into the Father’s arms.
The prodigal son is the perfect example of this. He was given his inheritance, which he squandered foolishly. He then suffered the misery, humiliation, and hunger associated with foolish living. This was not God’s wrath upon him. This was what his choices had earned. And it wasn’t until he suffered that he came to his senses and realized that life would be better as a servant in his father’s house than as a starving free man with no skills or prospects.
In my own life, God has allowed me to come to my wits end many times. It is in this moment of helpless suffering that I have been roused out of my stupor and remembered to call upon the name of the Lord. He is quick to answer my call, but He longs for a better, longer, and more intimate relationship than one of mere rescue.
Have you called on the name of the Lord without holding back?