Afflictions 

Does the Lord ever keep popping a verse into your heart and mind? This week Psalm 119:71 kept reappearing. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

I looked up the word affliction. flowers The Hebrew word used has the idea of being beaten down, humbled, and even humiliated. Now, nobody I know volunteers for a good dose of crushed spirits. This week, however, the Lord has been showing me the blessings of affliction.

purple flowers Years ago I asked Mom how she always seemed to know the right thing to do when problems arose. I can still hear her answer:  “When I didn’t know what to do, I prayed. I did nothing until God gave me an answer, and then I did it. But one thing He showed me, and I want you to remember it: Christ is always the example.”

This week some affliction came my way. I was very hurt, very beaten down. purple iris My human nature kicked with indignation, but the Spirit reminded me of another principle. The ability to do right can always be found at the foot of the cross looking into the face of the perfectly humble Example. Christ made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant… he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:7-8). When I focus on my Savior on that cross who bore all for me, there is nothing I can’t give up, no one I can’t forgive, or no pain I can’t endure.  

flowers God also tells us why the afflictions come: that we might learn His statutes. I looked up “statutes” too. Definitions: Laws or ordinances, limitations, prescribed tasks. What God wants is that we might learn to follow the rules, limit & discipline ourselves, rein in our own desires, and perform the things He has commanded us.  All of those require a giving up of ourselves to His will and a forfeiting of our own will. Again, Christ is the perfect Example. His “… not my will, but thine, be done,” (Luke 22:42) comes to mind. By learning His statutes - pulling in our own wants to conform to His law, we become more Christ-like.

 So even when joy is overrun by tears, crocuses I thank God for the afflictions, those things that beat me down in life, because it gives me opportunity to learn His statutes and become more Christ-like.

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