“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” – Philippians 1:12
There is so much trouble in the world. Just because we are Christians does not mean we won’t experience it. We all go through tribulations and difficult circumstances, sometimes mind-numbingly horrific. What we may not realize is these experiences, the joys, trials and hardships, result in an undeniable witness, a platform to relate and demonstrate the gospel.
God reconciled the fallen world to Himself through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus lived the perfect life and paid the price we should have paid, that’s the gospel. Christians are expected to demonstrate and proclaim this fact, also known as the “Ministry of Reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
The apostle Paul was a tent maker by trade, however that was just his means to live, to service his fleshly tent. His primary objective in life was the ministry of reconciliation. That objective left Paul beaten, stoned, imprisoned and persecuted many times over. Check out 2 Corinthians 6 for the list of trials and tribulations Paul experienced. How many of us can say we were stoned to death and resurrected for the gospel’s sake?
Paul saw these events not as roadblocks to his mission, but as instruments to aid in advancing the gospel. This revelation kept him from despairing about his past and present circumstances. Instead he proudly proclaimed that when he was fleshly weak, he was spiritually strong. God’s strength was on display and worked through him the most when he was weak.
Yes, we go through many trials and tribulations. People are watching us. Until we’re back in heaven, let’s follow the Apostle’s example and use our experiences to demonstrate the strength and glory of our Father.