Psalms 119:71 – It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
There is a saying “some people only learn things the hard way.” If we are honest that is most of us. We usually have to make mistakes, suffer for it and then learn the correct way to do something. Often we have warnings along the way and people try to stop us from doing something stupid, but we charge ahead anyway. The problem is when we don’t learn from our mistakes and just keep doing the same stupid things regardless of the pain and suffering it causes us and others.
In God’s economy the same is true. We sin against God and then we are afflicted by reaping what we sowed. But the verse says it is “good” that we are afflicted when we reap what we sow. We usually don’t look at it that way. We think of reaping bad things as bad. But the Bible makes it clear that it helps us to learn God’s statues. If you touch a hot stove and burn yourself as a child you learn not to touch the stove again. That is a good thing. It would have been better if you just would have listened to mother when she told you not to touch it. Instead you did not learn until you experienced pain. Similarly, it is always better to trust God by faith that sin is bad.
When we suffer for sin, we begin to learn what our Lord did when he suffered for our sin. It is not a good feeling. When we have deep anguish and battles of the mind, when the devil torments us like he did Job, we learn to dig into the Book and find answers. We go to Psalms to get help. We learn God’s statues. We don’t just learn them, they become a part of us. They become experientially ours. You can’t really learn the Bible until it becomes a part of you like that. There has to be pain involved to learn. The pain becomes the driving force to cause you to learn.
Part of the reason the old time Puritans wrote so deep on the important doctrines of the Bible was they were afflicted more than we are today. Sometimes when we read Puritan writings, it goes over our head because we do not have enough affliction. So, maybe learning things the hard way is really not that bad. It is a good thing if we let it teach us the Word of God and let it stick. Let God teach you something the hard way today.