“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear…to everyone that I am in chains for Christ.” Philippians 1:12-13Philippians 1:12-18
Paul was imprisoned for his faith and saw it as a chance to share the gospel with others—including those guarding him. As the early church was scattered because of persecution, its members recognized the opportunity to bring the good news of Jesus to new places and to the people who lived there (Acts 11:19-24).
Unexpected, life-changing suffering (including when life hangs in the balance) brings us and those close to us to places we might not have otherwise gone. We meet people we would likely not have met were it not for our painful circumstances. We’re brought right into the presence of many who need the gospel. For me that has meant families in waiting rooms, people with whom I’ve shared hospital rooms, medical professionals or therapists needing encouragement in their faith, people waiting in line to pick up prescriptions.
When life has been stripped of its preoccupations, we can thank God through the difficult times, asking Him to help us share the good news of Jesus Christ with anyone He puts in our path.
Father, thank you that suffering opens opportunities to tell others about Jesus. Help us to be faithful when those opportunities come.