Good Affliction

“It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.” Psalm 119.71

This verse continues the psalmist’s string of praise for the goodness of God seen in Scripture. He continues to sing of the Lord’s goodness by pointing out God’s goodness in his affliction. Don’t let this point pass you without taking time to ponder it. Our trials and afflictions (even from the hands of evil men, as in the psalmist’s case) are used by God for our good. They are a sign of God’s goodness.

This is not only the claim of the psalmist here. It’s a truth that God affirmed to Israel in the midst of captivity (Jeremiah 29.11). This truth is reflected in one of the most celebrated passages in the New Testament (Romans 8.28). God’s goodness to us in trials drives us to rejoice in those trials (James 1.2-4). 

In this verse, the psalmist points out that trials and afflictions are part of God’s goodness in affirming biblical truth, in helping us learn his statutes. He prayed for the Lord to teach him (Psalm 119.66), and he has seen the Lord’s goodness in teaching him through trials.

How do you respond when you encounter various trials? Do trials drive you to rejoice, to reflect on the goodness of God? In what ways have you learned to see God’s sovereign plans in your afflictions?

Gracious God, thank you. Thank you for your sovereign plans, far wiser than we can even imagine. Thank you for working through our trials to teach us about yourself, your ways, and the truthfulness of your word. May we ever praise you and trust in you. Amen.

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