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. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice….
As the apostle Paul penned these words to the Philippians, he found himself in a problematic situation. The man called and committed to take the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world was confined in a Roman prison. His calling seemed stymied. But Paul lived his life with this foundational belief: He was confident that God would never waste his time. Paul knew that God would use every situation for His eternal purposes – even those situations that don’t quite make sense at the time.
Do you believe that? I know it is difficult. I know it is especially hard for those living in disappointment, discouragement, loss, or grief. You are wondering how in the world God is going to use your present situation for good. How can He use setbacks, failure, hurt, illness, and injustice for good? You must believe God’s Word. For those who love Him and are called to His purposes, God doesn’t waste our time.
Remember this: The heavenly Father uses earthly problems for eternal purposes. It doesn’t mean the pain is less; it simply means the hurt is used by God to grow you into His man or woman. He is not done with you. Your impact for Him is just beginning. He is molding you today for the person He needs you to be tomorrow.
Father, I pray for those about ready to throw in the spiritual towel. Please encourage their hearts as only You can do. Please remind them of Your love. Give them the strength that they need for today. Give them the hope of a better day tomorrow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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