Responding properly when afflicted
And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear…For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. Philippians 1:12-14, 20-21
There is a saying, “Bad things happen to good people.” In an instance your circumstance could take a sharp turn and can completely become overwhelming. Before, it seemed to be that your circumstance was under control then it became out of hand. All your plans and dreams just went up in smoke. Then you find yourself chained in your circumstance that there is not anymore happiness but all sorrows. Right now, among the multitudes of saints there are those who seemed to be despondent because they were chained to their affliction. The Apostle Paul from the text had two choices to make as he respond to his imprisonment. He could choose to be in a sour mood asking the same question most self-centered people ask, “Why me?” Such attitude could lead to hopelessness and depression. Instead, Paul realized that even in his circumstance, he could glorify God. Something good could come out from his affliction. He accepted the fact that he could not change his situation but he believes that God can help him respond properly and direct the steps he will take. This is why he said, “I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die” (v. 20). Paul’s attitude should also be your attitude when you are facing an affliction. Instead of giving in to worry and unhappiness, why not focus on God and His purpose. Paul looked at his circumstance and he said this, “I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News” (v. 12). I could just imagine the Praetorian guard assigned to Paul and him sharing to the guard the Good News of salvation. Then the guard after his work was done for the day will come home to his family and will talk to them about what Paul told him. Then there is the possibility that the guard will also tell the other guards staying in the barracks of what Paul shared to him. Paul was not resigned to his circumstance or denies that he was hurting while in jail. Instead, he chose to “rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4). He knew that God is accomplishing far greater than what he could imagine through the difficulty he was facing. Thus he told the Christians at Philippi, “You will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me” (Philippians 1:26). When you trust him and place your life in His care, no matter what circumstance you have Christ is preached and revealed through the way you respond to your affliction.