... Now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6b-7
This Daily Devotion begins with the story of a pastor who had a habit of saying, "It could have been worse." No matter what happened to you, no matter how terrible the situation in which you found yourself, he would smile and say, "It could have been worse."
It was a comment his people didn't always like to hear.
Finally, one man in his church decided to break his pastor of the habit. The next time he saw the preacher in private he said, "Reverend, I had a dream last night. I dreamed I died."
The pastor said, "It could have been worse."
"But, Pastor," the layman continued, "I dreamed I died and went to hell."
Once again the pastor replied, "It could have been worse."
Ah-ha the layman thought to himself, "I have pastor where I want him." Immediately, he spoke his well-thought out question: "Pastor, tell me, what could possibly be worse than dreaming you died and had gone to hell?"
And the pastor explained, "It could have been worse if your dream had been true!"
You've just gotta love that preacher. After all, how can you not love a person who has a real healthy outlook on life and a grasp of things the way they really are? It was the pastor's belief, and not his habit, which caused him to say, "Things could be worse."
He knew that in this world, because of sin, each of us is going to experience tragedy, sorrow, sadness and suffering. Sometimes the price and penalty for sin can become so overwhelming we truly end up concluding things can't possibly get any darker.
Might I suggest that in the history of the world there has been only one Individual who might be justified in coming to that conclusion.
When Jesus hung upon the cross, if He had said, "Things can't get any worse." He might well have been right. He had been betrayed by a friend, denied by another, and deserted by the rest. His church had pushed to have Him crucified, and His judge had ignored His innocence. As Jesus died, He was supremely aware of the crushing weight of the world's sins which He was carrying. And then came the hardest blow of all: His Father in heaven had forsaken Him.
Of course, since Jesus suffered in this way for us, it means all who believe on Him as Savior will never reach that moment when things truly can't get any worse. With faith in the Christ we will never stand before the heavenly Judge and hear Him condemn us to an eternity in hell.
For that reason I can conclude since Jesus has forgiven and saved us, His redeemed are able to say, "Things couldn't be better."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I be given a proper perspective on life. May that perspective enable me in dark times to know that Jesus has delivered me from an eternity of terrible times. In the Name of the Redeemer who has rescued me I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries