October 30

Psalms 119:67, 71 67Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

71It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

There are times when we need affliction, be it physical, mental, or emotional. If it is indeed good for us, as the psalmist here declares, we should be careful not to ask to be delivered from it too soon. We are to pray for the healing of one another, yet we need to discern God's timing for that healing. Some would consider all afflictions the work of Satan that must be rebuked and immediately healed. There are times when Jesus healed all, that is, all that came to Him (Luke 6:19). There are other times when He walked through a crowd of sick folks to pick out one person who was to be healed (John 5:3).

When we are afflicted we should look for a lesson to be learned or an insight to be gained. We learned from Job that even though Satan may bring the affliction, God uses it to reveal Himself to us. It may be a time of stretching your faith and trust in God. It may be an opportunity to be still and learn in what way your decisions have varied from God's leading.

In this passage the psalmist implies he was not obeying the Word of God. His illness was due to his straying from God's Word. So, when we are ill, we should look to see if our lives are lined up with the Word of God. In the second verse he said the affliction was good for him because through it he learned what God had decreed. Our lives often get in such a busy state that we tend to run on autopilot. An affliction stops us in our tracks and shows us that life goes on even when we stop our busyness. If we are too busy to hear, God may, in His mercy, stop us with affliction so that we will take time to get His direction. Which would you prefer, a week of the flu, or a fatal head-on?

Remember: Next time you are afflicted, first ask what God wants to work in your life through the affliction. Recognize it is good for you. Then, after you have heard God's answer, pray for healing.