Ever wonder why God allows our lives to fall apart? It is so He can direct us in how to put things back together.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!
13 I would not obey my teachers
or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble
in the assembly of God’s people.”
21 For your ways are in full view of the LORD,
and He examines all your paths.
I am sure that there are times when God actually afflicts His children. I think that there are times when He doesn’t stop the natural circumstances of this world, i.e. cancer, natural disasters, accidents, genetics, etc. But, I think that most of the time that which we perceive as His afflicting us is actually Him allowing us to reap the consequences of our choices, some that are deliberate rebellion and others that are made out of ignorance. Either way, we learn from these afflictions. King David did:
Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.
In Christ, life becomes a practice field for us. We no longer need to worry about “making the team.” It’s all about learning to be obedient to the Spirit in how to be like Jesus: How to represent God to the world. There may be times when He tells us to “drop and give Me twenty.” In that case, it’s an attitude problem. David had them:
75 I know, LORD, that Your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. 76 May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant.
The key to this passage is in believing what Jesus has told us, what He has promised us. For instance, in Hebrews 12:4-8, we have this promise:
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
(“as a father the son he delights in” Proverbs 3:11-12)
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
In my own personal creed (see Proverbs 7-29-20), I stated what I believe according to His promises to us:
- I believe that Jesus loves me (John 15:9 and Ephesians 3:17-18), cares for me (Mark 6:34 and John 10:10), and will take me to be with Him someday (John 17:24)
In fact, I know exactly how David felt when he wrote:
92 If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
Had I not known the above verses and believed them and cherished them, then I would not have learned from my situation and may have been doomed to repeat my mistakes until I learned the lesson–not by God’s hand, but by my stubborn will and poor decisions.
If we will see every problem in our lives as opportunities to grow in Christ, then we would see how God uses these predicaments to bring good for us. There is a verse that tells us this good news, but there is a catch:
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
The catch is in the phrase, “who have been called.” It implies those who are following the LORD closely, “according to His purpose.” We MUST be following the LORD closely to see the good that God is bringing out of our afflictions, both for ourselves and in ourselves and for and in others. The key is in Him asking, “Do you trust Me?” and us responding, “Yes, LORD, Yes, to Your will and to Your way.”
May we read His promises and base our next decisions on those promises. Soon we will be able to say with David, “It was good for me to be afflicted” (73).
Abba, You have taken me through some rough times. I know that TRUST COMES FROM TIME PLUS BELIEVABLE BEHAVIOR. T+BB=Trust. You are always believable and trustworthy. Thank You for Your unfailing love! May I always trust in You as I become trustworthy to You. Amen.