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Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Classroom Of Affliction

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

I suppose that none of us have a real affinity for affliction.  There are sundry afflictions to which we are exposed in life.  They vary in intensity and duration.  Some afflictions cause a momentary discomfort.  Some afflictions rock our world.  Some afflictions pass from our memory while others leave scars etched upon the brow of our consciousness.

Some afflictions, probably most, are self-induced.  Others are inflicted upon us.  All of them are allowed by God.  We have all heard the news, seen the tragedy, felt the pain that causes us to slip into despair even if but for a moment.

Having known the sting of affliction we shudder at the words "It is good for me that I have been afflicted".  We don't like to be afflicted, broken, humbled, laid low....  These are the words of one who has learned.  One who has matured.  One who sees life differently than others.  They are lessons that could only be learned in one classroom, the classroom of affliction.  Unless we experience affliction we can never know the lessons it can teach us.  These are not the words of one who has seen little affliction but one who has seen much.  In fact they have seen enough affliction to realize that it is good for them.

Why is it good?  We do not have to go far to learn why.  "that I might learn thy statutes".  There are some lessons we can only learn in the classroom of affliction.  There are some lessons we learn in theory that can only become real in the fires of affliction.  The theories are tempered into convictions.

We learn lessons about God in affliction.  God is faithful!  God is a very present help in trouble!  God never leaves or forsakes!  God is true to His word!  God answers prayer!  God's grace is sufficent!

We learn lessons about ourselves in affliction.  I am frail!  I am weak!  I am needy!  I am vulnerable!  I am faithless!  I am proud!  I am helpless and hopeless!

In short, we learn lessons concerning our utter dependency and God's unwavering dependability!

When afflictions break into our lives let us sit humbly as students instead of raging as captives.  Instead of liberty from the difficulty let us learn our lessons in the affliction.  Then we might be able to proclaim with the Psalmist, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn they statutes."
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