Suffering Serves the Saints (Brian S. Borgman)
“What we go through, we go through not only for ourselves, but for others, serving as an example and encouragement to others. Suffering serves the saints.” This is the theme of Psalm 119:73-80, according to Brian Borgman, the author of An Exile’s Guide to Walking with God: Meditations on Psalm 119, a new book that I’ve recently been enjoying during my morning devotions, as I return to Psalm 119 to nourish my soul.
In the tenth chapter of his guide, Brian provides the following outline for those eight verses. This week, I encourage you to set aside some time to meditate on this portion of Psalm 119 using Brian’s outline.
This Is What I was Made For (v. 73). “The Psalmist acknowledges that he is the work of God’s hands. God made him, He created him, and fashioned him. God is the potter; we are the clay. He not only makes the lump of clay, but He molds it and shapes it. He fashions our lives according to His plan, and that includes His providential control over our suffering.”
Let Me Be a Visual Testimony (vv. 74-75). “The Psalmist knows that whatever God does is right. He knows God cannot wrong him or mistreat him. All that the Lord has brought into his life, He has brought with faithfulness. Having girded his mind with these truths, he earnestly desires to be an example to others who fear the Lord.”
Your Grace Is Sufficient for Me (vv. 76-77). “Throughout this Psalm, the Psalmist never views himself as a spiritual Superman. He know that such an attitude and perspective towards suffering would need to be sustained by God Himself.”
Take Care of the Insolent Liars (v. 78). “Although affliction may be lightened by the knowledge of God’s hand in it, and God’s fresh compassions and mercies, there are still real people who are bitter and arrogant and quick to assault God’s people with lies. Yet the Psalmist refuses to be consumed with vindictive thoughts or vengeful feelings; rather, he focuses his mind on what God would have him do.”
Let Me Be a Verbal Testimony (v. 79). “The Psalmist returns to those whom he prayed for in v. 74, to those who fear the Lord and know His Word. He keeps them ever close to his mind and affections.”
Help Me Live Above Reproach (v. 80). “The final prayer brings into focus enduring affliction for the sake of God’s name and the good of His people. He prays for integrity of heart, and through this he would not be ashamed and that he would not bring grief to his own conscience and reproach to his God and discouragement to his brothers.
After meditating on this passage of Scripture, pray it back to the Lord in the context of your own situation.
If it’s been awhile since you took a slow walk through Psalm 119, I encourage you to check out Brian Borgman’s devotional guide. An Exile’s Guide to Walking with God: Meditations on Psalm 119 is available from Free Grace Press.