Devotional for

Five Ways Affliction Helps

John Piper

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. (Psalm 119:67)

This verse shows that God sends affliction to help us learn his word. We should ask how affliction helps us understand God’s word and keep it.

There are innumerable answers, as there are innumerable experiences. But here are five:

  1. Affliction takes the glibness of life away and makes us more serious so that our mindset is more in tune with the seriousness of God’s word.
  2. Affliction knocks worldly props from under us and forces us to rely more on God, which brings us more in tune with the aim of the word.
  3. Affliction makes us search the Scriptures with greater desperation for help, rather than treating it as marginal to life.
  4. Affliction brings us into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings so that we fellowship more closely with him and see the world more readily through his eyes.
  5. Affliction mortifies deceitful and distracting fleshly desires, and so brings us into a more spiritual frame which fits God’s word more.

May the Holy Spirit give us grace to not begrudge the pedagogy of God.

From “God's Painful Exegetical Help”