“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”

– Psalms 119:71 & 72 (AMP)

So many times we hear about having faith in God. Many people talk about having mountain-moving, way-making faith. We even write our articles in the Faith & Values section of this great newspaper to encourage and inspire the readers to trust God in good or bad times.

Affliction is defined as something that is caused by pain or suffering. Some of the symptoms are adversity, ailment, disorder, disease, distress, grief, hardship, illness, misery, plague, tribulation, torment, trouble or sorrow. This pain or suffering can manifest itself in either emotional, physical, psychological or even spiritual ways. We all have experienced some type of affliction in our lives and resort to our faith in the Creator to see us through.

In today’s lesson, we hear the writer of these two verses talk about it being a good thing to have been afflicted in order to learn from God’s statutes or laws. I have often referred to this passage of scripture while going through some very tough times in my life. There were many times when I had to face the loss of loved ones, jobs/positions, property and even good health. These times helped me realize that having the knowledge and power of God’s word often proved to make the difference as to the outcome of my condition and situation.

In 2010, I lost my wife of almost 28 years suddenly to a stroke. Then in 2015, almost five years later, I lost my only sister to cancer, and she had just turned 60 years old. In both cases, the grief I experienced was overwhelming.

The emotional and spiritual trauma expressed themselves in very serious physical illnesses. With my wife, I developed a severe case of gout, which caused me not to walk for several days. Then at my sister’s death, I contracted a very bad blood infection that almost took my life.

In both cases, while lying incapacitated, I was led to read and study these verses intensely. They helped me recognize that sometimes (not all the times) challenging and testing situations can be used as learning tools to increase my faith and understand God’s statutes. Verse 72 lets me know, also, that His word is better than all the gold and silver we can have.

Let me be perfectly clear: I’m not saying or guaranteeing that this works for everyone, but faith in His word can make a difference. I’m reminded of an old African-American hymn, by R. C Ward:

When waves of affliction sweep over the soul,

And sunlight is hidden from view,

If ever you’re tempted to fret or complain,

Just think of His goodness to you.

Though storms o’er thee sweep,

He is able to keep;

Just think of His goodness to you.

I encourage you to activate your faith in God and His word whenever you are faced with times of affliction. Be blessed and have peace.

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Henry Badie Jr., the associate minister of Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ in Florence, is a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact him and other board members at fvboard@florencenews.com.

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