Today I’m going to share with you one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned during my grieving process: God doesn’t use suffering and grief only to change what’s on the inside, but He uses them to change what results on the outside as well!
I was studying the book of Philippians, and came to the section titled “Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel”. Intrigued, I read the following words that Paul wrote while in prison:
“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 throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly” (Philippians 1:12-14).
Until I read these verses, I hadn’t considered that my earthly struggles could help advance the Gospel. In fact, I would’ve said that I tried to keep my earthly struggles to myself and push forward with the biggest smile I could muster. (Remember the isolation of pain?) But, Paul’s example turned the light on for me: I am not the only one who faces the spiritual or emotional struggles of grief. And, because I’m not the only one, I have an opportunity to witness my faith through the “chains” in my life.
So, it was through Paul’s chains that I was moved to open my mouth. As he said, because of his chains, “most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly” (verse 14). So what does this mean for you?
God hasn’t used your grief to only change you on the inside; He’s expecting a return on His investment! God knew that you could handle your loss. He knew the spiritual and emotional journey you’d endure. And, He knew you’d be a witness for your faith through it all. So, let your chains advance the Gospel. Let everyone know that you’ve been “in chains for Christ” so that they will be encouraged to share the Gospel message as well.
Dear Lord, help me to realize that my earthly struggles are not only used for my eternal good, but they can also benefit those around me. Open my eyes to others who might be grieving and fill me with the courage to testify to your grace and mercy! Amen.
Posted in: Week 4