The more times I dive into the thicket of God’s truth in Psalm 119, the more nuggets I find that are a blessing to my heart and soul. I yearn for my conversations with God to echo the author’s prayer. His words are eloquent yet simple. They are full of passion and emotion, not cold and detached. His words paint an incredible portrait of a God of love and mercy, seeking to walk with His people and instruct them in the ways that will be most glorifying to Him. One incredible truth that I have found proven over and over again is found in verse 71:
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71)
We see in context the author is speaking about the storms that have closed in upon him in his life, particularly those who have slandered his name and proclaimed lies against him. The author, in his incredible wisdom, realizes the value of the storms. Instead of having the all-too-easy pity party, he sees a divine plan of God in the tribulation that he might come to know God more fully through it. The hardship is a means by which the author comes to learn more fully the instruction of the Lord, or to put it in other words, shapes him into the man that God desires him to be. God, in his infinte wisdom sees good in the affliction, he creates a proclaimer of His glory through the trials and tribulations, He calls man back to Himself with famine and poverty. Tough times are like Michaelangelo’s chisel and Monet’s brush; they bring out the true beauty of our created purpose, to glorify God with all that we are!
Solomon’s words in Proverbs only echo this truth. He states so often throughout the entire book of Wisdom how good the storms are for our faith. Proverbs is an incredible text filled with more incredible nuggets of truth. Here are a few that echo the words of the author of Psalm 119 regarding tribulation:
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)
“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” (Proverbs 9:9)
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates reproof is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1)
“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24)
“A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” (Proverbs 17:10)
I can look back on my life and remember some of the most difficult struggles that were put in my path. At the time they hurt incredibly and I thought I would never get through them. However in hindsight the Lord hand of the Lord in those struggles was so prevalent I don’t know how I didn’t see it at the time. It is not the easy and contented parts of my life who have made me who I am today, but the pain and storms that God has given me the strength to endure and grow through. While I may not ask God in prayer to bring on the storms, I nevertheless realize how God uses them to strengthen and shape me into a man that might glorify Him with my whole being, not just with part of me. God wants all of me and as he continues to teach and lead me, more and more of me is becoming His as I relinquish control and live into the new life and new being that God is sanctifying and sculpting. Thank you Lord for the words of the saints who smile on your instruction and see the profit that it brings. May I see your sovereign hand next time I’m in the midst of a storm. May I understand your love for me and may that draw me to ever extol your grace and glory. Amen.