COLLINS COLUMN: As we deal with our troubles, we can point others to God

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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What if the difficult things we go through and the suffering we experience have something to do with advancing the gospel? Would it stir more resolve and commitment to the places he has put us or to the people we are called to serve?

In one of the letters Paul wrote from prison he said this: β€œI want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Paul is convinced and even goes on to give evidence that being in prison has contributed to advancing the gospel in ways he believed might otherwise not have happened. He added that as a result of his situation, β€œit has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.”

His prison experience placed him in front of people who learned about the gospel from him. The way he handled his time in prison gave other believers confidence to speak the Word without fear.

Watching and learning

What if we each realized that no matter what we are going through in our hardest times, someone is watching us as we faithfully trust God to meet our needs? How many times have you personally watched someone you know endure great stress, financial hardship, sickness, relationship failure, or loss of a spouse and found that your faith grew because of how they endured and persisted, trusting God and even giving God glory in the midst of it all?

There are examples all through Scripture that inspire us as we read of saints overcoming fear, facing an enemy, or being generous even in their poverty. But there are also examples from last month, last week, or even yesterday afternoon where your faith grew because someone in your life was faithful to Jesus.

Paul said the prayers of others and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ would result in his deliverance. He believed with eager expectation, hope, and full courage that Christ would be honored in him either in life or in death. That is the kind of discipleship that changes the world. God changes us, through our faithfulness he brings a transformation in another, and live or die, God gets the glory.

Light for the path

Paul would have known the psalms. Paul knew, as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 119, that God would light his path. The psalmist, like Paul, declared that he was severely afflicted and only God could give him life. When we incline our hearts to Jesus and to the truth of his promises in Scripture, God will be our strength and he will use our lives as testimony for others to see the powerful work of God right before their eyes.

Lord, whatever we face today we will in faith embrace our difficulty for your glory. Reveal Christ to someone through our testimony as we trust in you for our deliverance. Encourage us, dear Father, to live faithfully even on the toughest days. Shine your light through us so that someone nearby will discover your love and grace. Amen.