Updated: May 8
“ And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.”
Philippians 1:12 (NLT)
“God, why is this happening to me?” You may be asking God this question as of late. I’ve asked this question recently. If you didn’t know, God can handle our questions. We will never understand His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) but we must believe that His plan for our lives is perfect (Jeremiah 29:11). When we want to ask why we should consider reframing this question and think about what is happening FOR us.
Yes, I know this is easier said than done but let’s consider Paul’s example. Paul formerly Saul considered himself to be “chief of sinners” before his conversion. He was unapologetically a follower of Christ and His witness landed him in prison more than one time. Not only was he imprisoned, he was beaten and in our anchor scripture he is believed to be physically chained and “on watch” around the clock by the prison guards. Despite this he recognized that his circumstances lead to the gospel being spread throughout the prison. He had nothing but time to share how his life was changed to those responsible for keeping him in chains! He considered it a blessing to be able to be a witness and to have the opportunity to encourage other believers to be bold and live without fear.
“For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and bold speak God’s message without fear .”(Philippians 1:13-14)
Talk about the ultimate perspective shift! In the midst of this particular scripture Paul also showed his humanity as he admits that he is torn between his desire to continue living in his current circumstances and dying (Philippians 1:23). I’m sure that depression, anxiety, despair, mental, and physical anguish were all a part of his story too but He had to remind himself that his life was bringing glory to God and hope to others. (Philippians 1:24-26)
Some of us may be experiencing extenuating and unexpected circumstances. We may not understand why we are walking through life’s challenges but we must consider that what is happening FOR us will become a part of the story that is still being written about our lives. We want our story to say that we trusted God in spite of. We grew stronger in our faith and bolder in our witness. We lived a life of generosity, loved unconditionally, and that our lives pointed back to God’s sustaining grace and power. I pray that Our Heavenly Father will help us to see through eyes of faith so that we can make this heavenly-minded shift: “For Me" versus "To Me."