Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Philippians 1:12-13. (EHV).
Have you ever had something bad happen to you that turned out for good? Or have you gone through a bad period in your life but it turned out to be a blessing to other people?
In the last few years I have lost three jobs, a house, and a business. I’ve had a brain tumor, lost my hearing, and have lost my confidence in myself. My mom died, and then just this fall her brother died. My income was slashed, then slashed again. Some of those things are my fault; others not. Some are just the consequences of one thing happening after another. Sometimes it has felt like I’ve been in chains, like I’ve been punished for bad decisions and bad behavior.
In all of it, God has been active. For every loss, every challenge, He has gotten me through. The brain tumor is gone, my other ear has compensated for the loss in the other, and the whole thing identified some health concerns that I needed to address. I’m in a great job right now, working for a great company that pays better than any other job I’ve had. Most of all, I have a wife, three kids & their wonderful spouses, four grandkids, and dozens of friends who love & support me. In a world where there is so much suffering, God has blessed me so much more than I deserve.
Through my ‘tribulations,’ others were watching. Other people have learned from my lessons. More importantly, I’ve been able to share the Gospel with some people whose paths I doubt I would have crossed otherwise. Who knows how that could be a blessing to them, or to others in their orbits, or even to total strangers? Just as God made Paul’s suffering for Christ known through the hostile, pagan palace guards, He has made my comings and goings known to others so that His glory might increase.
We talked about it yesterday: none of our puny thoughts, words, or actions can contain the Gospel. God advances it as He chooses, yet He does so through us, through the lives we live. When we prosper it is because He has prospered us. When we suffer, we are given the privilege of allowing His grace, mercy, and glory to shine all the more through us. In this, we find that suffering really isn’t misery unless we let it be so. Has something bad ever happened to you that turned out for good? I’m sure it has, and in that, God was working on you, in you, and through you.
For further reading: Acts 21:33, Philippians 1:14
My Lord and God, may You only increase, be praised, and become known through me.