Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your word. – Psalms 119:67
Affliction is not something that we seek or particularly like to experience. In fact, I would say that it ranks right up there with illness, trial, and disaster. Who would ever want to be “afflicted?” How could we ever see such things in a positive light?
The Scriptures clearly teach that God’s purposes are often accomplished through difficult circumstances. Hardship, in its various forms, is often the means by which the Lord gains our attention and devotion. A person travelling on a clear, smooth, and straight highway most often looks forward. That same person who travels a crooked, damaged path or who finds themselves in a ditch, most often looks for a way out!
We should be thankful.
Indeed, it is so easy to say it, but much more difficult to embrace it; therefore let me rephrase. May we be thankful for those circumstances of life that cause us to regain our bearings with the Lord and, if it helps, consider just how messed up we would be without them.
No one is exempt from trials and tribulations. In fact, this is often what happens to people God loves very much, for it is part of God’s often mysterious and good plan for turning us into something great. – Timothy Keller