Before and After
by Maria Hartman
Psalm 119: 67-68 (bold and italics added) Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your Word. You are good and do good; teach me Your statutes.
Going astray is certainly never good. So God sends something our way: affliction. This is not on our top ten lists of favorite words by any means, but it comes with a purpose. It brings us back to Who is in charge and causes us to depend on Him. Our God loves us enough to keep us close. Don’t you want to keep those who you love close to you? Well God came up with that long before you or I ever felt that way. He is good and He does good; no affliction can ever change that truth in the life of the believer. In fact, affliction often elevates our view of God as we see what happens in and through our personal affliction. ‘Teach me’ is what the psalmist asked for; he didn’t ask God to bring what he liked into his life; he only wanted more of the character of God.
What did you learn about God by going astray? …..What has affliction taught you?
Going away from God never teaches us anything about God. But coming back to God through whatever means He sees fit, teaches us so very much about Him. It is so typical of our human nature; the very thing we like the least is often the very thing that lifts our eyes to see the Goodness of God. And that is always best.
For Today: Would you let your needy child ‘go astray’ and not intervene? No, of course you wouldn’t. Does your child like to be brought back to where you want him/her? No, they never do. We too are really just stubborn children who want to go off and do our own thing. Thank the Lord; He loves us far too much to allow that. Affliction may come, but it is never a punishment.
God will do whatever it takes to draw us near to Him, and show us that it is in His presence only that we can experience the joy that we wondered off in search of.
Psalm 119: 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Your statutes.