Paul wrote to the Philippians while he was under house arrest. His letter emphasizes “suffering” and “rejoicing.” (How are those two terms even allowed to be in the same book together?)
Persecuted believers faced rising spiritual opposition, and Paul, the one in chains, says:
“Whatever happens . . . [insert the struggle you are facing now: oppressive work environment, failing marriage, infertility, financial disaster, rejection for what you believe — and hear Paul, in light of his chains, finish the sentence] . . . conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
Is that not just the ultimate guilt trip? Well, it would be if we thought we ourselves were behind the wheel!
Listen . . . and lean in to hear what this “gospel of Christ” really is.
God loves you; Jesus offered Himself for your sake; He sees your distress; He extends sufficient grace . . . for “whatever happens.”
My husband faced a cancer diagnosis two years ago, and a loving circle of neighborhood friends gathered around me one night to search Scripture and pray over me. Peggy had thoughtfully searched for verses of courage and comfort and even provided a special blanket for me to sit on and wrap myself in. I remember my weeping was loud, raw, and furious; it seemed surreal. Towards the end of my time with these dear women, Peggy looked right at me and boldly stated that the Lord had given her a word for me: “Favor.”
I thought to myself, but did not voice: “Are you kidding? Me, favored?” I went home exhausted, weak, and feeble, yet strengthened in a strange kind of way.
I waited for “Favor” to show up.
Then God did a powerful thing. He brought me to my knees in reliance upon Him. Like that blanket my friend brought, Jesus wrapped His arms assuredly around me and gave me the promise of His presence and strength in ways that only He is able to do, and He created a sacred space with my husband that was profound and deep. And there were times of deep rejoicing. And all of this happened in the midst of the storm.
“The broad path is heavily traveled, but if you choose the narrow path there may be times when you won’t see anyone but Jesus.”
Jesus traveled the road of suffering for us. And now He travels the road of suffering with us.
You can walk in obedient faithfulness and live as a witness to His sufficient grace no matter what.
Be encouraged that “whatever happens,” Jesus will sustain you.
Today: Read Philippians 1:27-30