Focal Passage: 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
I grew up watching Bob Ross paint. My grandmother, a painter herself, would turn on the television to admire his technique and, I imagine, to hone her own craft. One of the things that always struck me about his paintings was how ugly they would get. I did not know that it was all part of the process, that the splatter or line that seemed to have ruined the painting would serve to enhance its glory when the masterpiece was done.
Paul told the Corinthian believers that the same God who said “let there be light” at creation and “let there be light” in their hearts for salvation – the one who said “let there be life” and raised Jesus from the dead – displayed the same glory and power as they persevered through suffering. Despite intense persecution, the gospel continued to advance to the praise of God, and God’s people continued to grow in their knowledge of Him.
Our suffering honors God when we persevere and, per James, when we persevere joyfully, because doing so produces endurance. This does not mean the trial is pleasant. This does not mean we enjoy it.
God is painting a scene in Christ to display His glory in and through His people. Every stroke, the ones that make sense and the ones that do not serve to enhance that glory. There will be days when the splatters and strokes make a lot of sense to you. But even when they do not, take heart. The light and momentary trials you face are achieving something greater in eternity. One day, it will be a masterpiece.