Philippians III: What Question Will You Ask?

Now I desire to have you know, brothers, that the things which happened to me have turned out rather to the progress of the Good News; so that it became evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my bonds are in Christ; and that most of the brothers in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear. Philippians 1:12-14 (WEB)

What a story that is full of wisdom and personal experience of which I can learn. Paul is imprisoned for preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. And because he is such a dangerous prisoner, he is chained to a soldier 24/7. Paul is not ‘down’ by his circumstance but excited! He had a chained audience!

I may never be imprisoned in a jail but certainly I have felt ‘locked down’ in circumstances I could not escape. What question do I ask of God?

  • Why did this happen to me?
  • How can this be of some benefit for what God has in mind for my life?

Remember Joseph? Joseph who has been given dreams that he will rise and lead his family. He is not the oldest brother but, in fact, almost the youngest. He is beloved by his father, given preferential treatment, and so is hated by his siblings. They exact revenge and sell him off into slavery. He believes God has raised him out of that ‘hell’ and put him in charge of a high official’s home but instead, the wife takes revenge on him when he scorns her! Off to prison! Dreams again play a factor in freeing Joseph and he becomes the #2 man in Egypt. And he tells his brothers what he has learned.

“…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” Genesis 50:20 (WEB)

Paul has learned what Joseph did that even in the tragedies and difficult circumstances God is still ultimately in charge. God still wants to give good gifts to His children. Nothing is ‘wasted’. Unlike some of the classes I sat through in school, every lesson has a way to equip me. Each is a growing up time. And I am never alone. Jesus is right there, walking ahead of me; showing me where to step if I will follow His example.

This lesson today is truly where I am living right now. I am grateful that Jesus is teaching me in every circumstance of my life – even devotions! I look back at the two questions that I asked before:

  • Why did this happen to me?
  • How can this be of some benefit for what God has in mind for my life?

and with what Joseph and Paul have both said it seems that anyone could ask the first question but with some ‘growing up’, the second question is the one for me to think about and look with expectation for God’s answer.

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