Yesterday we looked at the final answer to dealing with unmerited suffering: reminding ourselves that in God's universe, He only allows what He can use. Look again at the words of our text for today: "After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God." After the finest and truest of prophets had been put in prison and his preaching silenced by a wicked and unjust king, Jesus came preaching the good news about God. How could there be good news about the God who had allowed such a thing to happen? But that is exactly what Jesus did proclaim - and proclaimed unashamedly. And why? Because Jesus knew that everything God allowed, He would use. By His action, He rejected the idea that a man like John should be exempt from suffering, and that God isn't good when He permits such things to happen. Can you see now why God allows us to go through suffering? He does it so that, in the fires of affliction, we learn the secret of an alchemy which transmutes the base metal of injustice, and consequent suffering into the gold of character and the silver of God's purposes. In one place in the New Testament, Jesus refers to being "perfected" by His death on the cross (Luke 13:32, AV). Just think of it: the worst thing that can happen to a man - crucifixion - turns out to be the best that can happen to Him - perfection. This is the attitude we must cultivate if we are not only to face, but use suffering.
O my Father, how can I ever sufficiently thank You for showing me this way of life? Nothing stops it - permanently. When men and circumstances concentrate on doing their worst - You bring out of it Your best. I see, I follow, and I am unafraid. Amen.
For further study:
1. What was David's declaration?
2. What is your declaration today?