In 1915, swarms of boll weevil insects destroyed two-thirds of the cotton crop in the Deep South of Alabama. It completely devastated the economy. But the infestation actually forced local Alabama farmers to try something new. They planted a different crop the boll weevil couldn’t harm: peanuts. By 1919, the Wiregrass region produced more peanuts than any other in the U.S. bringing in millions of dollars to the local economy. Plus, peanuts were easier to harvest than cotton. To those who lived through the agricultural disaster, the boll weevil was the best thing that could have happened.
In the story of Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:18-22), we realize how God uses afflictions to cause our return to fellowship with him. Personal afflictions are the real blessings when they help us discover a relationship with a Good God who wants us to love Him and live with Him. Pain has a purpose. Afflictions can be affirming.