Paul’s Pity Party

Why is this happening to me, God?

Most of us have cried those words at some point. After a job loss, perhaps, or mistreatment from someone at work. Or maybe it was a sick child or even a loved one’s death.

Why me?

It’s a huge question, of course, and much too big to address adequately in a short article. But it’s something we need to think about, and it’s better to gain perspective before we face difficulty than to try to develop it in the middle of the storm.

Paul had been thrown into prison, and his pity party is fun to watch. Actually, I think I’d be seeking sympathy if I were in prison, but Paul’s attitude is remarkably different:

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ (Philippians 1:12-13).

Incredible, isn’t it? Where’s the woe-is-me talk? Where’s the look-at-how-much-I’m-suffering-for-Christ pity plea?

Most of us want a little sympathy if we get head colds, but Paul? He’s just excited to see what God is doing through his difficulties.

I love that attitude. Maybe this week we can focus on cultivating a God-focused spirit when times are tough.

Health problems? Difficult co-workers? Irritable spouse? Relationship struggles?

Instead of blowing up the balloons and sending out invitations to the pity party, maybe we should first sit down and talk to the Lord and ask him to help us see what he’s planning to accomplish through whatever difficulty we’re in.

Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we should first consider that, to use Paul’s words, maybe this “imprisonment is for Christ.”

Maybe God has planned this to accomplish something huge for his glory and our good. —Chuck


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