“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word…. It is good for me that I have been afflicted…I know, O Lord, that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75)
Many believers like me can resonate with these words written above. Although this is not always the explanation when God’s people are afflicted, it very often is. I have been living with a chronic illness since 1978 and I have been paralyzed since 1984. It was my affliction that moved me to do the life’s work God was calling me to do for Him.
God tells us in His Word that He chastens those He loves (Revelation 3:19). Although the goodness of God can lead us to repentance, for most of us it is the chastening of our Lord, knocking on the door of our life that moves us to open the door and invite Him into the practical areas of our life. Like Jonah, it is only through divine intervention that our “I will not” is converted to “I will.”
As a “Type A” obsessive-compulsive, workaholic pastor I left before I got there and people could not keep up with my fast walk. For someone like me to be slammed down in one place, unable to move anything from the neck down, it was an overwhelming intervention.
It took two years to even begin moving toward accepting my limits. When the acceptance came it was a supernatural miracle of inner healing. It took twenty years, but I eventually reached the point where I could tell the Lord I loved Him for cutting me back and improving the quality and quantity of what He wanted me to do for Him.
Can you resonate with the perspective of this ancient hymn writer?