Psalms 119:67 (ESV)
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”
David was a man much afflicted with Trials of Life. Sometimes trials came his way through no fault of his own. He was pursued by King Saul because of Saul’s jealousy and fear. He later had a series of difficult times because of his sin with Bath-sheba. Throughout the Psalms he writes much about afflictions, trials and difficult times. David, no doubt, learned much from the trials he went through. Here in Psalm 119:67 he gives us a little insight into one of the “why’s” of afflictions and trials.
David tells us that he had gone astray but through affliction he was brought back to obedience of God’s Word. The word used here for afflicted means also to be oppressed or humbled. God humbled David by afflicting him and in doing so He caused David to see his sin. He repented of that sin and turned again to God. He began to walk with God as he had before he went astray.
God uses trials and difficulties to humble us and convict us of our sin. He wants us to walk with Him and when we stray off course He will sometimes use hard times to achieve the desired result of repentance and reconciliation. If you are steering a ship or driving a car you have experienced “drifting off course”. We must continually make small course corrections to keep the car or ship going in the right direction. I remember when I was first learning to drive and wanted to hold the steering wheel completely still. I would drift off to one side of the road or the other and would have to turn the wheel slightly to stay in the middle of the road. It didn’t take long to figure out that I had to continually make these small steering corrections to compensate for the uneven road conditions, wind, and even play in the steering of the vehicle. God often uses the trying times of our lives to steer us back on course.
Does this mean that every “bad thing” that happens to us is a result of some terrible sin? Absolutely not! We need to be very careful not to cast blame when we are suffering in difficult times. When we start casting blame, we begin with ourselves. We can then move on to our circumstances or other people. Often in the blame-game we end up blaming God. So don’t start down that road. Accept the fact that sometimes it just rains. Sometimes the sun shines. Jesus said in Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV) “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
There is no doubt that we are sinners. We live in a sinful world and we constantly battle our sinful flesh. We are prone to sin so we should use occasions of trials and tribulation to search out our hearts, confess our sins and ensure that we are in walking in obedience to God. Whatever the “cause” of our trial is, we can rest assured that God is always on our side. He knows what we are going through. He may be just bringing some rain (with the accompanying thunder and lightning) or He may be trying to steer us back on course with some affliction. God bless you!