We look now at the third step in the process of dealing with unmerited suffering: don't spend too much time trying to understand the reason for suffering - focus rather on how you can deal with it. Notice, Jesus spent very little time trying to explain human suffering, much less explain it away. Had He undertaken to explain it, then His gospel would have become a philosophy - in which case it would not have been a gospel. A philosophy undertakes to explain everything, and then leaves everything as it was. Jesus undertook to explain little, but He changed everything He touched. He did not come to bring a philosophy, but a fact. What was that fact? The fact was His own method of meeting suffering and transforming it into something higher. Out of this fact, we put together our philosophy - a system of principles and procedures by which we live out our life in this world. Notice that fact comes first, and then the philosophy about the fact. The good news is not merely "good news"; it is the fact of sin and suffering being met and overcome, and a way of life blazed out through them. The fourth step is this: remind yourself that in God's universe, He allows only what He can use. In the passage before us today, Jesus gives the nine sources from which suffering comes upon us: confused religionists (false Christs), wars and conflicts in society, calamities in nature, and so on. Then He says this: "It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony." In other words, you are not to escape trouble, nor merely bear it as the will of God - you are to use it.
Blessed Lord Jesus, You who used Your suffering to beautify everything You did, teach me the art of turning every test into a testimony and every tragedy into a triumph. For Your own dear Name's sake. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What did Jesus promise?
2. What did Jesus pray?