“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.” Psalm 119:71 This probably isn’t anyone’s favorite verse, but when you think about it, this is a verse we could use on our hearts all day long. How often do we feel afflicted during the day, by our bosses or coworkers or by inconsiderate strangers, or even by our own families? Granted our afflictions aren’t always as horrible as they feel at the time, but they’re afflictions to us all the same. There’s a phrase I hear a lot from Christians, “The enemies attacking me.” I can’t help but feel like this phrase is backwards to the perspective we should have to our afflictions and almost giving the enemy more power than he really has. Yes, the enemy attacks us, but I can’t forget abut the first chapter of Job, that Satan had to ask God for permission to afflict Job. God loves us and I’m convinced only allows affliction in our lives when it’s for good. How much more productive do you think we could be, if when something bad happens to us, instead of seeing it as the enemy attacking, we look at it as God refining us?
Psalm 66:10-12 says, “For You, O God, have proved us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.” When I first breezed over these verses, I thought, ‘That’s not right to blame God,’ but as I read them again it made sense. Everything that’s happened to us, whether we perceive it to be good or bad, was from God, with a purpose: to bring us closer to Him. How quickly might we move past our trials if we accredited them to His working in us, drawing us nearer in love. It won’t be comfortable, painless, or easy, and God doesn’t expect us to bury our emotions when we’re hurting, He says, there is a time for mourning, but we don’t need to be joyful to hold to the knowledge that it’s all for good, we just need to cling to the truth that He loves us. Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The enemy has no power over us anymore, only the power God’s given him to draw us nearer to Him. Our afflictions though painful are the cutting and polishing of precious stones, the refining of silver or gold, the long suffering of a grain of sand being transformed into a pearl in a clam.