Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his “I Have a Dream” speech, “Unearned suffering can be redemptive.” He was not the first person to make that observation. The Apostle Paul expressed a similar idea. When he wrote his second letter to Timothy, he was in chains, waiting for the Roman government to end his life. He told Timothy that he, Paul, was suffering because of the message he preached. He wrote, “Because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal.” Then he said, I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen. Paul was prepared to suffer because he marched to a different drumbeat than others who shunned pain. He looked beyond the suffering to the glory that followed. Like Jesus Christ who endured the cross for the same reason. The writer of Hebrews said that the joy beyond the cross caused Jesus to disregard the shame of the cross. Of course, few of us, if any, seek pain and suffering. But when unearned suffering arises, we take courage, knowing that suffering for Christ’s sake is redemptive. It refines our character. It develops our endurance. It strengthens our hope. So when unearned trouble arises in your life, remember Psalm 30:5, which says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
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