I read this last Sunday "by accident" and all week it has been bouncing off the walls of my mind, stirring up new thoughts, and consoling me. While I wouldn't call anything we're living through "suffering," I would definitely say we're learning what "trials" are all about down here.
Pure joy? Maybe not my first reaction. At the same time, don't I want to be mature, complete, not lacking anything? For sure. If I'm not overflowing with pure joy, I'm at least more grateful this week to remember that the trials are probably not in vain. God is growing a little garden of character in my heart and weeding out the ugly thorns and spiny vines. I'm glad there's purpose in the pain.
If I have learned anything in the past 9 years, it's that God's way turns out better than my way every time. The apostle Paul calls God's will "good, pleasing, and perfect" (Romans 12:2). It doesn't always feel that way in the middle of the storm, but I can't look back on one moment in my life and fault God. Funny, then, that I'm so quick to grumble today.