One of the first things people tend to do in times of hardship is to point a finger, trying to find someone or something to blame for their adversity. If we are hurting in life, certainly it must be someone else's fault, right?
But more often than not, our attempts to blame others are hollow and fruitless. Sadly, a probable cause of our difficulty tends to go largely unnoticed-namely, ourselves. Although it may hurt our pride to admit, we are frequently to blame for our own adversity.
This is certainly a tough lesson for any believer. Today's passage reveals David's own struggle in this very area. However, he reached a point when he realized his own culpability in his turmoil. He cried, "Before I was afflicted I went astray" (Ps. 119:67). That is, he recognized that his affliction was not anyone else's fault, but rather, it was the result of his own wandering heart and mind.
In this sense, adversity can be a powerful tool in the hands of our heavenly Father. Why would He allow us to fall into such hard times? The answer may be that He desires to teach us the result of our own sin and misdirection. He wants to impress upon our minds the results of our sin. By doing so, He helps us avoid these problems in the future.
That is why David was able to make the rather surprising statement, "It is good for me that I was afflicted" (v. 71). The second part of that verse-"that I may learn Your statutes"-explains the long-term protective benefit. If you are going through adversity, perhaps God is trying to teach you something. Be open to His lesson, and seek to find meaning in your hardship.