“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 resonate with these words from Psalm 119. Although this is not always the explanation when God’s people are afflicted, it often is. I have lived with a chronic illness since 1978 and have been paralyzed since 1984. Although I began ministry as a pastor in 1955, my afflictions moved me to do the life’s work God called me to do.
God tells us that He chastens those He loves. (Revelation 3:19) Although the goodness of God can lead to repentance, for most of us it is the chastening of our Lord knocking on the doors of our lives that moves us to open up and invite Him in. Like Jonah, sometimes it’s only through divine intervention that “I will not” is converted to “I will.”
As a “Type A” 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. After twenty years 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?
Dick Woodward, 04 May 2013
Editor’s Note: After physical limitations slowed my father down, he compiled the Mini Bible College, a topical study of the Old and New Testaments that has been translated in over 41 languages (& counting!)