That sounds like a crazy statement, but read the words of David; “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn Your statutes” (Psalm 119:71). A few verses later in this Psalm he says “in faithfulness You have afflicted me” (119:75).
What did David mean by these statements? It is a natural tendency to have our thoughts and attention elsewhere when life is “normal” and we are free to do what we want. When the pressure of suffering and pain hit us and we are limited in what we can do, we tend to ask questions about our condition. God wants us to gain from trials; He is faithful in bringing them at the right time.
Albert Barnes wrote: “God knows what is best for us, and the way in which He leads us, mysterious though it seems to be now, will yet be seen to have been full of goodness and mercy.”
What increases our ability to learn in these difficult circumstances that hurt? I think Paul said it best, and he speaks from experience that is far deeper than mine; “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11). It is a comfort to realize that even Paul saw this as a process of learning. Just when I think that a lesson in suffering has been learned, God brings along another one with more to understand and gain from another experience of pain. Will you join me in learning from the hand of a loving Father?
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