My dad called yesterday. He was clearly excited. He left a message at my office then called me at home. He was reading through the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. The allusion to the George Smiley novel might be enough to entice one to read it.
“David” (My Dad calls me by my full name.) “I just read about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s favorite verse in the Bible. Guess what it is.”
“There’s a lot to choose from, Dad. I have no idea.” (It was about 5:00 pm–I’m low energy at that point in time.)
“Make a wild stab at it.”
“OK. How about something from Psalm 119?”
“Yes. Actually, Psalm 119, verse 71–It was good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes. You and Bonhoeffer share a love for Psalm 119.” (See my 40-plus blog posts on Psalm 119.)
“Yes, Dad. That’s true.”
Bonhoeffer was reflecting on this verse as he decided to leave the US to return to Germany, where within 3 years he would become a martyr.
While my health problems the past 5 months have seemed brutal to me, my afflictions are mild compared to what Bonhoeffer experienced. But I am forced (reluctantly) to agree with the psalmist and the martyr, it is good to be afflicted. It forces us to be more dependent upon God and God’s word.
Based on my father’s enthusiastic endorsement, my wife Shannon just ordered the Bonhoeffer book for me. I’ll let you know how it is.
So, how do you feel about affliction?