My dear friends, all week I have been reflecting and praying about the thoughts I am being called by my Lord to share concerning a challenging Scripture. I wanted to make certain I was true to the context of the text and its message. My text is Psalm119:75. The psalmist, David, cries out, “I know O Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (NIV). Woe! Wait a moment here! God can’t be the author of our pain? How could that be loving of God? If that’s the kind of God you serve, I want absolutely nothing to do with Him. At first glance that would seem to be what this Scripture is saying. Why would God accept David’s prayer to be afflicted?
Far be it from be to say I know without a doubt in my heart what our Lord is seeking to say to us through this Scripture. I’m suggesting that after much study of this verse what David is referring to is that he’s aware of his sinfulness. Many of us are familiar with Psalm 51 where David calls out pleading to be spiritually cleansed, to go through God’s purifying shower to wash off all of his sin. Hear the plea which comes from his heart in your own. David says, “Create in me a pure heart, o God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). David, often referred to as a man after God’s own heart, acknowledges the struggle he has with his carnal self. He committed adultery with the breath-takingly beautiful, Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11:4). Uriah was a soldier David got drunk and sent out to battle, knowing it would mean his death (2 Samuel 11:13, 15). His lust for Bathsheba consumed him. He lost sight of the God who asks us to commit ourselves fully to Him. His loyalty was divided. David doesn’t trust himself to be able to keep God’s commandments, without that thorn in his side to keep him in constant need of Him. Hence, we have David plead with God to be afflicted.
God in His love for us knows what is best for us even when we don’t. Just like loving parents discipline their children in their love for them, so is it true our Lord does that with us. He doesn’t want any harm to come to us. Jeremiah 29:11 asserts God has a plan not to harm us, to give us hope and a future.
When I’m a child my mother makes my brother and two sisters take cod liver oil. One time my mother asks me if I have taken mine. “Yes, Mom!” She says, “Stick out your tongue.” Busted. When I do as my mother asks, there is no blackness on my tongue. She gets the cod liver oil. She makes sure I take it. Yuch! I do as I’m told.
When I take time to reflect on my childhood, I know in my heart my mother knew what was best for me. She had to make up for the love and consistent discipline, I wasn’t getting from my schizophrenic father. She did a great job raising all of her children.
Many of you will have read about the time my cousin, Paul, drowned. He was only eight. The oil can barrel boat capsized. Paul was knocked unconscious. He was swept away by the current of the Beaver Valley River in my home town of Thornbury, Ontario, Canada.
I asked my mother for permission to go along with Paul to the Beaver Valley River. She said I couldn’t. I shouted at her saying, “I’ll never speak to you again!” Tears come as I write about this experience. When I heard from my mother Paul drowned, I went to her asking her to forgive me. I rarely ever questioned her rules after that time.
There are days I miss Paul, especially when I’m enjoying some leisure time with Karen. We were kindred spirits. Paul was more than my coussin. He was my best friend. We would often pretend we were on exciting adventures together.
When you think God has abandoned you when you needed Him most, perhaps you’ll remember some of these thoughts. You’ll re-read this message.
I pray you will believe and know God is with you in every circumstance. He disciplines you because He loves you or in response to your prayer to have a challenge, which keeps you committed to Him. He is faithful in your time of affliction. There will be times this will be extremely difficult to see. Our circumstances can overwhelm us. We can feel like we can’t keep our head above water. We are fighting one life brush fire after the other. We don’t get one put out before another starts. What I do pray with all my heart is you will cry out like David did and say, “Father, I can’t make it through this struggle without You. Please help me through it.”
Know that the God who loves you with an everlasting love, will be there for you now and into eternity. Why? Because He gives us the kind of love that will never go away.
Kevin and Karen Osborne are Christian pastoral counsellors and psychotherapists. Kevin is studying to become a psychologist and professor of Psychology. He feels called to also be a chaplain. We have started You Can Hope Again Counselling. Karen enjoys doing cross-stitch while I like writing and singing songs. Karen makes me laugh when she sings the kitty bed-time song saying, “It’s that time. It’s the bestest kitty time of the day!” Kevin enjoys teasing the kitties and making them do kitty dances with music. Their kitty, Catherine, loves it when kitty daddeh sings All Things Bright and Beautiful. Kevin likes doing impressions. He tells children’s stories and helps others with their problems using his hand puppet, Dr. Teddy, who is a therapy bear. He is a partner with us in our counselling practice.We are available to assist with worship and preaching to give busy pastors and ministers a much-needed break. Please visit our counselling website, where you will also find our blogs. We offer in-office, and phone counselling to anyone in the world.
Co-author on Mind’s Seat, a Christian inspirational blog