The dog pooped on the brand new carpet. I’m running late for work. My son didn’t wake up so now he can’t ride the bus and I have to take him to school. Frustration mounts up within me. I remember the old commercial, “Calgon, take me away!”
Wouldn’t it be nice if everything just went smoothly? In my counseling sessions, often I have a client who is really struggling with stress and pressure to make everything right. They want to be perfect at work, the perfect spouse, the perfect lover, the perfect parent, the perfect host, the perfect friend, the perfect picture of perfect perfection 🙂 And this creates so much tension and stress trying to make everything just so. Recently, I explained to a client that even if they did everything perfect in every place of their life, there would still be something that goes wrong, something difficult to deal with. Even if you had super-powers greater than the entire Justice League combined, life will never be perfect. And this brings us to our Verse of the Day:
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
The apostle Paul says, “We rejoice in our sufferings.” I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t really describe me. I know I should and I am supposed to be joyful in all circumstances and give thanks, but that is not easy and it certainly doesn’t come naturally. In crisis, I have to remind myself what I should be doing and thinking. I have to force myself. The key to moving my mind from frustration to thankfulness is understanding the place that suffering holds in my life and what God desires from it.
Suffering causes me to exert faith so that I can hold on in the tough times. As I learn to do this, I become more stable with greater character not moved by my emotions over every little bit of drama. To maintain, I have to remind myself that God is able. I may not know what He is going to do or even if He is going to do anything, but simply knowing He is able at any moment to deliver me gives me hope. And this hope keeps me in the presence of God and His love for me. When we put suffering in the right place, suffering perfects us and moves us into a more wonderful relationship with God. Suffering is an instrument of faith-building that God is going to use. So no matter how hard you try, the Lord is not going to allow you to have the perfect life. There will be suffering to move you forward spiritually.
So….relax. Don’t get so uptight. Chaos and trouble do not mean that you aren’t perfect, but they do mean you are being perfected.