Faithful Afflictions

 

I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. -Psalm 119:75

I doubt that we very often view the afflictions in our lives as God's faithfulness (I know I don't). I think the common idea is that if things are going good, then I must be living in a way that is pleasing to God. Or, if things in life are going bad, then I must be doing something that is making God angry. It's this view that God is a ticking time bomb, and he's hovering above us just waiting for the wrong move to be made so that he can afflict us with some sort of malady.

But the Psalmist doesn't view God like this. Instead, he startles us with the above verse, saying that God's afflictions are a part of his faithfulness. How is it that the Psalmist can think like this? How can he possibly believe that the suffering in his life, the difficult things he faces every day, are a part of God's faithfulness?

The Psalmist can think this way, because his every thought is shaped by God's words to him. Let me give you two verses that demonstrate this.

 

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. -Psalm 119:76

The Psalmist view of God's affliction is that this is God's way of showing his steadfast love. It's God's way of showing that he alone is the ultimate comfort in life. How often have you attempted to look for comfort in things? Material possessions or relationships? Every time, these things fail to comfort us. Relationships are hard and everything material in this world is wasting away.

God wants us to see that true comfort comes only from him. His afflictions upon us are faithful to show us this.

One more verse.

 

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. -Psalm 119:92

This verse directly reveals the Psalmists secret to making it through these afflictions–the law of the LORD is his delight.

For the Psalmist, the truth of God's words always trump his experiences in life. Not the other way around. So the Psalmist is able to go through trials. He's able to live with his life hanging in the balance as his enemies pursue after him, because he believes more in what God has promised than in what his present circumstance is presenting to him. 

Jesus would do the same thing, only perfectly and in our place. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, it was the truth of God's word that saw him through the circumstance. When Jesus was ready to face the cross, it was his reliance on God's faithful words that saw him through the agony. 

And he has done this for us. Where we are quick to believe lies, Jesus fully believed the truth. Where we are quick to believe that our present circumstance proves God to be unfaithful, Jesus believed that his present circumstance was underneath the sovereign and faithful hand of his Father.

God is always faithful. His promises have been fulfilled in Christ. You will make it through your afflictions. Do you believe this?