Two Ways to Respond to Suffering
John Piper writes:
There are two kinds of responses to our own personal suffering: 1) We can rail against God and say, "If you are such a great and powerful and loving God, why am I in this hellish mess?" 2) Or we can acknowledge that we are sinners and don't deserve any good thing, and cry out for mercy and help in our time of desperation. The world is full of those who rail against God in their self-righteousness and presume that the creator of the universe obliged to make their life smooth. But there are only a few who own up to the fact that God owes us nothing, and that any good to come our way will be due to his mercy, not our merit. I think Luke records this text for us about the two thieves to teach us that there is great reward for responding to suffering like the first sort of person. The two thieves represent these two ways of responding to suffering and relating to Christ in suffering.
To read the rest of his article: http://www.desiringgod.org/library/sermons/81/041781.html