Bible Society of South Africa
Carina Francke

Your 24/7 Companion – Day 13

He in You … Difficulties produce Fruit

Bible text(s)

67Before you punished me, I used to go wrong,

but now I obey your word.

Psalms 119:67GNBOpen in Bible reader

71My punishment was good for me,

because it made me learn your commands.

Psalms 119:71GNBOpen in Bible reader

9But I will sing praises to you;

I will offer you a sacrifice

and do what I have promised.

Salvation comes from the LORD!”

Difficulties may be inevitable and unpleasant in the believer’s life, but it always produces fruit. Afflictions or trials cannot only be ascribed to life and the part that unbelievers play, but also to the part we ourselves (more) often play. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” (Psalm 119:67)

Like disobedient children, we often obstinately choose to do our own will and, then, must bear the consequences of our wilfulness and stubbornness. The aftermath though, is that other people also suffer because of us. A good example is that of Jonah, who refused to obey God’s command to go preach His grace in Nineveh, but chose to go his own way because “he knew better”. He eventually caused the loss of a ship’s cargo and almost the drowning of a ship’s entire crew. A big fish swallowed him, where he stayed for three days and nights, engulfed by water with seaweed wrapped around his head. It was in these circumstances that he realised God is right and that “salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).

We often rationalise to dodge God’s “no” in our lives. We justify our choices and decisions with words like, “I know what I do. I work hard. I deserve this little pleasure! I am my own boss!” Sometimes, we even go so far as to manipulate the word of God to justify our wrong, very often, sinful decisions.

The consequence? We suffer, as well as other people who are drawn into it! Then, we dare ask, “Where is God?” He is still where he always is with the believer: IN you! However, because you have a will of your own, he had to move aside and allow you to learn the hard way that his decrees, plans and work ethics are ALWAYS the best.

Not everything is lost though, because he can turn the most hopeless situation into a victory. The question is, can you admit, like the psalmist, “before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep You word. (Ps 119:67)

What is the fruit of this attitude? It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your decrees.” (Psalm 119:71)

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