PSALM 32:10 & PSALM 34:19
"Many are the pangs of the wicked." (Ps. 32:10). "Many are the
afflictions of the righteous." (Ps. 34:19).
Superficially, the above two verses seem to resemble each other; but
upon reflection, they are strikingly different in their implications or connotation. Suffering is inherent in both 'pangs' and 'afflictions'. It is a common denominator. However, in "pangs of the wicked", suffering emanates from remorsefulness for wrong-doing, or from pricks of conscience which deprive them of peace of mind. Is. 48:22 affirms it.
"There is no peace, says the LORD, for the wicked." To their sure
doom, the wicked trust in their dubious ways, and stray farther and
farther away from the Lord's steadfast grace, drifting from bad to
worse and eventually to the worst. Ultimately for their misdoings and
lapses, they pay the just retribution with their precious lives like the crucified criminal on the left. While he too had had the same chance for reconciliation and restoration like the one on the right, he missed out and became an eternal loser. Time and tide tarry for none! An opportunity when presented must be seized there and then.
The allusion in Ps. 34:19 is to the Lord's Passion. Nevertheless, it
has its universal relevance to us all. In "afflictions of the righteous", suffering does not stem from misdeeds, but from selfless actions sacrificially undertaken for the common good of all concerned. Job's afflictions are of a different class by themselves. They were inflicted at Satan's instance to test Job's faithfulness and loyalty to God the Almighty. As a soul-winner, Apostle Paul courted afflictions (2 Cor. 11:23-28) on the Lord's behalf for the furtherance of His Church, and its fortification through sound doctrinal teaching.
Introspectively we may ask and answer whether ours are the "pangs
of the wicked" or the "afflictions of the righteous." Eternally blessed we shall be if ours are afflictions suffered on the Lord's behalf for the sake of His Beloved Bride, the Holy Church.
Nakkolackal V. L. Eapen,
Austin, TX. (ID. No. 4160)