Reflectively the Psalmist wrote: “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119:75)

There was no whiney, ”Why me.” Surely he didn’t understand, but he trusted the Lord. He knew there was a reason.

He also wrote, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes”  (Psalm 119:71).  Wooo! 

That is faith applied where it hurts — when it helps.

The Psalmist did not become bitter because of his afflictions. He realized they made him better. He was so convinced of God’s goodness that he asked the Lord to teach him more. That is an implied request for more affliction that would teach him more. He said, “You are good, and do good.” This reveals who God is, “You are good,” and what He does, “and do good.”

The focus is not on affliction, but on God’s character and conduct.

Today many people speak of the goodness of the Lord in good times, but switch emphasis in bad times to a complaining mode. These lines from a modern chorus need to be converted into conduct:

“God is good (all the time) And all the time (God is good).”

I have a similar quote of assurance of His goodness,

“Water is always wet, fire is always hot, God is always good. It is their nature, they can’t be any other way.”

God cares for each of us and wants to reveal Himself to us even through adversity. He wants to use our adversities to develop a better relationship in order to help us get through difficult times; to help us overcome adversity.

Adversity is designed to be a cure for flaws within our nature. David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I have kept Thy Word.” That is the case with many of God’s servants. They were inclined to one peculiar temptation, and though they may not have seen it, the chastening hand of God was aimed at that special weakness of their character.

Even Jesus learned through suffering: “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.”  (Hebrews 5:8)

We can only learn experientially what Jesus meant when He said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” That is not a pretty, painless picture.

All alike suffer. The difference is one learns from suffering and the other doesn’t. The suffering of one draws the one suffering closer to the Lord, and the other more distant. 

Martin Luther put the process in perspective when he noted: “I bless the Lord for the correctives of his providence by which, if he has blessed me on the one hand with sweets, he has blessed me on the other hand with bitters…I never knew the meaning of God’s word, until I came into affliction. I have always found it one of my best schoolmasters.”

We are all going to suffer adversity, it is part of the pattern of life. Therefore, why not learn from it. It is not good, but from its result we can learn from it.

Getting out of adversity is not as important as what we get out of it. Resolve to learn from your adversity. These benefits of affliction have been noted by Dr. D. Dickson:

1. It tries and calls forth the exercise of faith.

2. It enables us to exercise patience.

3. It tends to produce humility.

4. It makes us dependent and prayerful.

5. It tends to secure our obedience.

6. It teaches us to value our mercies.

7. It tends to make heaven very desirable. 

The prophet Isaiah is the bearer of this good news. “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13) Extend your right hand confidently, He will help you.