Suffering: A Process Towards Perfection


By Vince Antonucci

It's easy to praise and worship when the sun is shining. But what happens when life takes a sharp turn? How do we handle it when we ask God for a bailout, and the heavens are silent?

I've been there, and I'm sure you have too. Somehow the easy answers aren't satisfying. When life is rough, it seems to us that faith in God should count for something-that we ought to have a hot tip on where to find an escape hatch.

The Bible never makes that promise. As a matter of fact, from beginning to end it shows us godly people enduring trials. As a matter of fact, it suggests that trials are actually good things. Again, I know what you're thinking: Tell some guy it's a good thing when he loses his job. Tell her it's a good thing when her husband walks out. Truth can be difficult, but it's still truth.

When we see a wrinkle, what's our impulse? To iron it out. We like smooth. So if you're like most of us, your natural thought is, If I didn't have to put up with this one thing, life would be awesome. And the trial today becomes our enemy. That's pure human nature. 

Test. That's key. A trial means a problem; a test means a process towards perfection. Tests in school may be problems, but we know why we have them: so that we can grow. Have you thought of your current trial as a test?  What about you do you believe is being tested?

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-4

The idea of process is so important to our way of seeing life. It means that stumbling blocks are really stepping stones in disguise. God is ironing out the kinks. I bet you knew all of this already, but I bet you'll also agree that we all need a frequent reminder. What's great is that though God's purposes usually remain hidden, the process does not. Romans 5:3-4 breaks it all down for us, from suffering to hope. Are you surprised that the end goal is hope, rather than, say, success or happiness?  Why is hope the ultimate goal, in your opinion?  Leave your comments below.


 

VINCE ANTONUCCI is the teaching pastor at Verve Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vince became a Christian out of a completely non-Christian background, which has led him to start two churches for people who don’t like church. Vince is the author of several books, including God for the Rest of Us.


SONG_square.png

Excerpt taken from The Song Small Group Study Journal