In March 2012, I had an encounter with a man who was suffering from a chronic disease. He has been in this condition for a few years. During our discussion one day, he thanked God for allowing the disease to attack him in the first instance. His reason: it was a way of helping him to stop his immoral living- he loves to run after women, young and old. When he said this, my eyes glowed, and I remembered what the Psalmist says in Chapter 119:67a.
Part one: Going astray.
" I used to wander off until you disciplined me..." Psalm 119:67a New Living Trans.
Thank God for what this version calls it "disciplined". Many other translations call it "afflictions". Afflictions is a form of discipline that puts an end to one's waywardness. This is a fact many that are afflicted will not want to own up.Some may not be aware of it. What is common is "why me Lord?" The Psalmist will not engage in self -deceit: he found fault with himself, not God or another person. To go astray is to attract affliction(s) or discipline.
Part Two: By the arrival of afflictions, uncomfortability sets in. The Psalmist puts it right in chapter 30:7 this way,
"Lord, by Your favor You have made
my mountains stand strong;
You hid Your face, and I was troubled."
No afflictions seem to be good. Troubles go along with it. As you can see from the experience of the songwriter quoted above, when he was with the Lord and upright, the favor of God made his mountains stand strong. As soon as he went astray, the Lord withdrew his favor. His mountains could not stand strong as before. The Lord loves a sinner but He hates his sins. As an holy God, he can not behold sin. So an unrepentant sinner will miss the face of the Lord and trouble will come. The Paslmist states his experience in 38:6-8.
"I am troubled, I am bowed down
I go mourning all the day long.
For my loins are full of
And there is no soundness in my
I am feeble and severely broken;
I groan because of the turmoil of my heart."
Part Three: The Blessings.
The sincere Psalmist states the blessings inherent in afflictions, brought on him by the Lord; in 119:71-72,
"It is good for me that I have been
That I may learn Your statues,
The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver."
He brought out the good in his (and every) affliction. Every affliction has the power to draw you closer to the Lord. All your desires are before Him. No discipline is convenient but to a yieding child, it is of great profit. To learn the statues and laws of the Lord is of immense value. It makes you secure and safe.
Are you undergoing any affliction from God? Do not pass the buck on anyone. Examine yourself. Know where you have gone astray and retrace your steps back to God. Do not claim any self-righteousness, it is at best as good as a filfthy rag. It is of little or no value. Turn to the Lord in prayer for perfect restoration. You can end with
"May my meditation be sweet to Him,
I will be glad in the Lord." Psalm 104:34.
NB: Every Scripture quoted is from New King James Version of the Bible except where otherwise indicated.