Paul writes in Philippians 1:12-13;
” Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,”
Tucked into these verses I see great encouragement from our heavenly Father. God has given us many examples through His word of those who have gone before us, and suffered greatly in many ways. Our sufferings come in many ways, our circumstances are all different, but the principle is the same. As Christians, God has granted to us suffering for the sake of Christ, for the glory of God, and for our good.
In Genesis 50:19-20, Joseph says to his brothers,
” Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
What encouragement do we take from these verses?
1) God has not left us without His word.
He has recorded for us, and preserved His spoken word. Romans 15:4, teaches that the Old Testament scriptures, were written for our instruction, so that through perseverance, and through encouragement from the Scriptures, we might have hope.
A hope that does not disappoint!
2) Others have gone before us learned, persevered, and counted it a joy to suffer.
They had learned through their trials and circumstances to depend on, and trust in Christ. Paul said his circumstances had turned out for the greater progress of the gospel. Paul had learned contentment in whatever circumstance he found himself. He knew how to get along in humble means and how to live in prosperity. He had learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. Joseph understood that all he had gone through, being sold into slavery, being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, and being put in prison, that God had a purpose and it was for good. Joseph’s responce, “am I in the place of God?”
I am learning, that the secret to being content in my own personal circumstances is that God is Sovereign. He knows the beginning from the end and everything that comes on me, God has been filtered through His mighty hands. Notice I said, learning. I am not always content in my sufferings. I look more like Elijah, questioning God, running away and complaining.
So today I am very grateful that the Holy Spirit spoke truth into my heart from the Word. I am so thankful for the encouragement that I have received from God’s word.
I pray you find encouragement from His word today!