Many Christians have faced very difficult situations, and some of you are going through them right now.
Sometimes it’s uncertainty at work: is my position going to be phased out? Should I make a career change? It might be one of your children that you’re worried about: life and relationship choices, immaturity, worldliness. Sometimes it’s health problems, either your own or someone close to you.
Or maybe some other dilemma. You don’t know how something’s going to work out, and you don’t have any idea what to do.
It’s normal to be concerned, I believe . . . to struggle with what the future will look like.
But Christians have something to cling to give us a sense of calm no matter what.
Paul was in prison multiple times, but I’m always amazed at how confident he is in the future. He wrote these words from a jail in Rome:
Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:18b-20).
He felt confident that he would be released, not beheaded, at least for now. But there’s more to it than that—notice his confidence:
“I know.” “This will turn out for my deliverance.” “I will not at all be ashamed.” “With full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body.”
I picture Paul kicked back in his jail cell without an ounce of worry about the future.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to be released, he seems to be thinking, but I’m not really that worried about it. Whatever happens happens, and whatever happens glorify Jesus.
There’s something there for us, isn’t there?
Several years ago I was amazed at and encouraged by the spirit of a Christian lady whom I never met, but who passed away with cancer. Like lots of people, I followed her story online as she fought the disease for twenty months.
She desperately wanted to live . . . to continue being a mom and a wife. But through it all, she was fully confident that God would do what was best, even if she didn’t understand what it was. She trusted that whatever happened would turn out to God’s glory and for her and her family’s best.
I prayed for her family after she died, and I asked God why he chose this outcome. He didn’t answer me, but asking it reminded me that we Christians have a different take on things.
Cancer might take this body, but it can’t keep God from redeeming this body one day. The economy might make your industry unsustainable, but job loss isn’t an obstacle God can’t help you work through. You may have no clue what God wants you to do with the big decision that’s in your lap, but maybe God will be glorified with either choice you make.
God isn’t limited to things working out the way we mapped them when we were 18 or 19.
He’s got a billion ways to use you and me to his glory, so perhaps we ought not to let the little things get to us so much.
Eternity is what really matters, and God will save every single one of his trusting children.