The purpose of pain

The psalmist said, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes” (Psalm 119:71). The word translated afflicted, anah means to be humbled or made to be meek. “To take a woman sexually by force may be to humble her” (6031) as was the case with Jacob’s daughter Dinah when she was raped by Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite (Genesis 34:2).

Being raped is never a good thing, but the experience of being raped can teach us important lessons about life and human behavior. The Hebrew word translated statutes in Psalm 119:71, choq means an appointment. Statutues are laws of nature, including human nature, that govern God’s creation (2706). God’s laws do not change, therefore, the sooner we learn them the better, if we do not want to live a life of pain and suffering.

The psalmist said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67). The word translated astray means to stray or figuratively to sin. The same word is also translated as deceived and sin ignorantly (7683). With regards to human behavior, sin could be the result of bad role models or following in the footsteps of someone that is not committed to God. The only way we can break free from these patterns is to be aware that they exist.

The psalmist said, “I know, O LORD, that thy judgements are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me” (Psalm 119:75). God does not vary in the way he controls the universe. When the atmosphere reaches certain conditions, it rains, when the earth’s orbit reaches a certain position, the season’s change from summer to fall. If we jump off a cliff, we will always fall to the bottom of the cavern. It is best for us to know the dangers of certain behaviors.

I can’t explain how I know, but after I was raped, I knew God loved me and he was protecting me. It could be that because I escaped and was not seriously hurt, that I felt someone unseen was looking out for me. The psalmist prayed, “let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live” (Psalm 119:77). One of the ways that God protects us is through his word, by letting us know how the world works. If we live by his commandments, we will able to avoid a lot of harsh, painful circumstances.

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