What a week. It seems as though a bated hush has captured many of us. We knew it was coming. We saw the warnings. But now it is here. *undecided* as I write this post. Countries re-shutting down. Jobs still in limbo. Livelihoods still in the balances while Washington waits. We wait. A Nation waits. What will come?
At times it feels hard to breathe. God is still Good.... He is in control.... yes. He is and He is. But with hubby's job in the oil industry still on lay-off and my younger son still off work from an injury and return prospects gradually diminishing and my wonderful job as housewife hanging on those very balances... and so many other burdens.... it gets very hard to breathe.
My solace this week has been found in His Word. Deep Breaths of timeless truths and promises. Remembering how little the World holds in light of all Heaven holds. Hope. Even if it gets ugly along the way.
Paul understood this. Many of the 1st century believers lived this. Persecution, ostracizing, struggling to meet needs, exasperated by false teachers.... and the list could go on. Paul himself was often in prison and, on the occasion that he wrote his letter to the Philippians he appears to have been on house arrest.
Many came to visit him, among them local church leaders. Not always did they leave enlightened. As a matter of fact, it seemed, often, they left agitated and not quite ready to accept the whole Jesus thing. They wanted it their way.
Yet Paul perseveres and he writes to the Philippians to thank them for their union with him in gifts and prayers. He shares with them, also, of the challenges he faces. Interestingly, he doesn't seem discouraged, rather, he appears to celebrate the challenges for the wonderful hope and work they are producing....
... Christian service rooted in love (1:16)
... Growing confidence in the Truth (1:14)
... Unparalleled bold fearlessness in sharing the Gospel (1:14)
It can be hard to appreciate the challenges when we are facing them. Knee-deep in the trials they present, the discouragement, the appearance of "lost". But are we ever truly "lost" as believers and followers of Christ?
Paul takes all which could potentially bring him down and turns it around. He sees it through God's eyes... through the potential not the probable or actual. But there again, he sees what is REALLY happening, not focusing on the discouraging points of so many negative experiences inundating him... He sees hope.... he sees the loving service, he sees the growing confidence, he sees the bold fearlessness and he recognizes how none of it would have been possible without the challenges he is facing.
Suddenly night is like day.
Suddenly loosing has its profit.
Suddenly impossible becomes possibility.
And he rejoices.
He sees profit here and beyond (1:21) and he focuses not on what could hold him and the gospel message back but rather on all which can and IS propelling it forward. (1:18)
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth,
Christ is proclaimed and in that I rejoice.
~ Philippians 1:18 ~
Don't despair, dear Christian. Don't let your eyes be so fixed on what may be lost, on the troubles at hand, that you miss what is found and the Peace and answers which surround us so completely we can't help but rejoice.... we can choose gratitude IN the challenges.
Are you struggling in the midst of these current worries? Are you pulled down or are you rising up? What is encouraging you today? Which particular challenge can you find a way to choose gratitude in?
**This is part 1 in a month long series on "Choosing Gratitude" from a guided Bible Study I have written of the same name. Click below to get your FREE pdf and join me! I had planned on Mid-Week Messages for this series but have opted for end-of-week sum-ups for reflecting. I am also sharing scripture daily on Instagram from this study and hope you will join me there as well!**
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