Psalm 119:69-71 The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
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Let me be perfectly honest with you. I hate pain. Physical pain or emotional pain, I just hate it. I’m sure you do too. It’s simply our natural response to pain.
Because pain is an indication that something’s wrong. If you start getting chest pains, you’d better call an ambulance quick! If you’re out running and all of a sudden a sharp pain shoots through your hamstring, you’d better stop, quick! We’re programmed to avoid pain, because pain says there’s something wrong, right?
But sometimes, pain happens. Hey there’s a great bumper sticker for your car. “Pain happens!” And sometimes, that pain, that trial, that difficult relationship, that knife in your back, that rejection, is part of God’s plan to bless you.
What, are you crazy?! No, that’s just what my Bible tells me. Have a listen:
The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. (Psalm 119:69-71)
What’s the matter with this guy?! It is good for me that I was afflicted?! Really? How many times have you heard people say, “I only really grow as a person through the difficult times.” It’s one of those truisms that gets tossed around by people who aren’t, at the moment, travelling through difficult times.
But what about when you’re in the middle of something? Like, as in this case, the insolent smearing you with lies? It’s not fun. It’s so unfair, and what we want to do is whatever we can, to stop the pain, now!
I’ll smear them with lies, that’ll do it! I’ll show him! I’ll sort him out. I’ll fix him! You know the sort of thing – don’t get angry, get even, right?
But that’s not God’s way. Jesus said crazy things like turn the other cheek, go the extra mile. And when it came to people trumping up charges against Him, He stood there quietly, not defending Himself, and ending up being crucified as a result.
Sometimes God uses those terrible things to change our hearts. To teach us, in the difficult times, so that we might learn His ways, in our experience. Think of it as on the job training – it’s the best sort. It’s not a theory lesson that happens in a classroom, but a practical that happens out in the real world.
Although he was a son, Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)
God disciplines those whom He loves and chastises every son whom he receives … for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:6,11)
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.