Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (Psalm 119:67)
How often do we not rejoice in the chastening of affliction in our life? How often have we desired to fully rejoice in that which brings the scourging to our soul? How fully have we sought to know the engrafted illumination of the words, before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word? That which is lovingly sent from our Heavenly Father is for the partaking of His holiness. Grief enters into the soul, but yet being exercised, brings forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:10-11).
The child of God should respond in sharp contrast to the professing religious. He is stricken but not cast down. He is grieved yet rejoices in the end result. The mere religious complains and smarts under the hand of the Lord. He murmurs at the divine providence which has come his way; not realizing it is for his ultimate good. Brethren, let us exercise ourselves unto a maturity – running our race with patience … looking unto Jesus – who has walked the path of suffering, death, and resurrection before us.
To this end, meditate with all scriptural fruitfulness the words by William Cowper (Cowper’s Poetical Works, 293-294).
Afflictions Sanctified by the Word
Oh, how I love thy holy word,
Thy gracious covenant, O Lord!
It guides me in the peaceful way;
I think upon it all the day.
What are the mines of shining wealth,
The strength of youth, the bloom of health!
What are all joys compared with those
Thine everlasting Word bestows!
Long unafflicted, undismayed,
In pleasure’s path secure I strayed;
Thou madest me feel thy chastening rod,
And straight I turned unto my God.
What though it pierced my fainting heart,
I blessed thine hand that caused the smart;
It taught my tears awhile to flow,
But saved me from eternal woe.
Oh! hadst thou left me unchastised,
Thy precepts I had still despised;
And still the snare in secret laid
Had my unwary feet betrayed,
I love thee, therefore, O my God,
And breathe towards thy drear abode;
Where, in thy presence fully blest,
Thy chosen saints for ever rest.