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January 5, 2009

God's Faithfulness

It is amazing how over the years God has spoken to me through various passages in scripture. Sometimes, there are things that just jump out, even though I've read them many times. Today, I was reading through Psalm 119 which is just a beautiful passage. I'm actually considering a New Years commitment to praying through those verses throughout this entire year. There was one verse today that just struck me when I thought about what it is really saying.

Psalm 119:75 says, "I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me." I thought about God's faithfulness throughout my own life, and then it struck me. This says that God is faithful to afflict me. The definition of affliction from Merriam-Webster is: 1) Humble, or, 2) to distress so severely as to cause persistent suffering or anguish. In my initial reading, it would seem odd that God would be "faithful to afflict," especially based on the second definition. Today, for some reason, both of those definitions are beautiful to me. Let me explain why.

I spent so many years being angry with God and the people around me for the junk in my life. I built walls around my heart and allowed myself to treat people with complete disregard. God softened my heart in ways I could never have imagined and truly humbled me. I welcomed it when the time finally came for God to change my heart and continue to welcome those changes. The definition I struggle slightly with is the idea that God would cause me distress. It seems to go against the idea of who and what God is supposed to be. For someone who is not a Jesus follower, this would probably be even more difficult based on the American cultural understanding of God as the cosmic Santa/Wish Granter.

I resonate with it though because God is righteous. His ways are righteous...His laws are righteous and His will is righteous. God knows things about me that I have yet to understand. It is in those times when I am afflicted, that God's love, God's glory and His grace shine through, because I must depend on Him in order to make it through. I cannot do it on my own, and it helps me to lean on Him. Even though it might not always be easy, anything that draws me closer to the heart of God is worth it, and I welcome it.


Matt Coulter said...

This is awesome, bro. It reminds me of Job 5:18 -- "For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal."

To a lot of folks, even the idea that God would wound is so foreign and hard to understand, but I love wrestling with this idea that even though he wounds that he always has our best and his glory in mind.