“It is good for me (Ἀγαθόν μοι, Благо мне), that you have humbled me (ὅτι ἐταπείνωσάς με, яко смирил мя еси), that I may learn your statutes.” (Ps 118: 71, Septuagint-translation)
It does me “good,” when God “humbles” me. But what does that mean? What does it mean to be “humbled,” and what kind of “good” does it bring? “Humility,” first of all, is one of the many gifts of the Holy Spirit. As such, it doesn’t come from “me,” nor can I muster it up or fake it. God, often unexpectedly, showers it upon us, both through our unexpected ups and our unexpected downs. Humility stops us in our tracks, making us take pause and slow down, reminding us of Someone Greater, and ever more powerful, than ourselves. It can be equally “humbling” to receive some unexpected good news, for example, that a loved one survived a life-threatening operation, or to receive some unexpected bad news, for example, that our love has abandoned us and took the car as well.
What “good” does this bring me? It slows me down, “that I may learn” God’s ways, as it says in the above-quoted psalm. I become more teachable, more attentive, rather than take things for granted. Humility, to use an imperfect analogy, is like driving in a grace-filled fog; I have to drive more slowly, more carefully, because it’s foggy. Thank you, God, for the ups and the downs. “It is good for me, that You have humbled me, that I may learn Your statutes!”