Struggles in life
You are good and do good; teach me Your statutes. The arrogant have forged a lie against me; with all my heart I will observe Your precepts. Their heart is covered with fat, but I delight in Your law. It is good for me that I was afflicted that I may learn Your statutes. Psalms 119:68-71
We learn from our mistakes. When we did something wrong that resulted to pain, next time that this same scenario comes up, we become wiser by not doing the same thing again. In this way, we learn from the past and thus avoided committing the same mistake. It is just like the saying, “I have the scars to prove it.” This phrase suggests that lessons can be learned from past mistakes. Though not all scars are the result of our own personal mistakes, yet they are markers that will help us be aware of what to look for when we are in the midst of struggles in life. From the text, the Psalmist used the analogy of building up fat in the heart to describe what happens when afflictions and trials are ignored as God’s tools to help us grow in wisdom. When heart is filled with fat, it prevents its ability to pump blood in the body. This lack of circulation results to sluggishness and inability to respond quickly. When we are facing struggles in life, we want to be alert and ready to stand our ground. For the Psalmist, focusing in God’s word and immersing himself in prayer provide clarity in his mind. We can appreciate the value of wisdom in times of struggles. It is during times of afflictions and trials that we learn to appreciate God’s promises in His word. The Psalmist recognized that struggles in life are God’s instruments so that we will not build up fat in our hearts. “It is good for me that I was afflicted that I may learn Your statutes.” It is in the midst of trials that he finds refreshed through God’s word and prayer. Instead of drooping, dull, and languishing he was revitalized because God was strengthening him. “As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength” (Psalm 138:3). In times of trials, He wants you to recall in your mind lessons learned and wisdom gained from biblical precepts that you learned to apply in your life. In this way, the more you appreciate following and obeying God. In this process, your spiritual life is more energized than before and you grow in spiritual vitality. As the writer of Hebrews puts is, “Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it “(Hebrews 12:11, NRSV). Let Him help you grow trusting Him as you let His word dwell in your heart.
Noel De Guzman