Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. I know, O Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me (Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75 NIV).
There is good in afflictions. It is the discipline of the Lord; for “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10b NIV). Thus there is a purpose in afflictions. It is also a humbling as well as a learning experience. You learn to obey God’s Word through your afflictions:
It is an observed fact that God’s children easily go astray. That is why God has often called His children sheep. They are in the habit of losing track and wandering away from the fold. The Shepherd then has to go in search of them. When going astray happens too often, God makes afflictions do the teaching. They train you and me to come back to God and obeying His Word. So there is a big difference before and after afflictions. Before, you went astray; but now, you obey God’s Word. This is the first realization.
Then comes the second realization that it was good for you to be afflicted. But sadly many do not profit from afflictions because they fail to turn to God’s Word. But if they do so they will find comfort, encouragement, hope and delight in God’s Word. And these treasures are best acquired by those who find that it was good to be afflicted.
There is also a final realization that happens after afflictions have done their work. You learn that it was God’s love for you that made Him discipline you through affliction. You learn that this is God’s exhibition of His faithfulness towards you. He is your Father and God; and you are His child. Thus afflictions are valid proof of your relationship with God and His unfailing commitment to that relationship. He wants the best for you and afflictions are part of His training to make you the best you can be!