Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you.
It is hardly surprising that essentially the entire book of Philippians came up when I was researching Scriptures on The Joy of the Lord. For the next few days we’ll essentially be reading through this letter of Paul to a congregation with which he obviously had a very special relationship. It is worth noting how this congregation started, as recorded in Acts 16. I feel sure Paul felt it was more than worth it to suffer the beating and imprisonment he had there in order to gain such a group of spiritual children. Often our times of greatest trial bring us the greatest blessings. After all, Jesus’ scourging, crucifixion, and death brought about salvation that is available to all mankind! Recently I was talking with a vibrant Christian who was sharing how they had gone through a period of extreme trial, including homelessness, and then said, “That was an amazing year. It wasn’t much fun at the time, but it was amazing.” We are touched and blessed to hear the stories of all sorts of saints, but we don’t necessarily think about how it was for them to live through all of that.
God doesn’t pick on us. I have no idea how many times I’ve said that to others, but it’s something I need to remember consistently myself. Right now I’m going through a “painful trial” myself, but I am already recognizing some of the blessings God has planned for me in it. Yesterday I got the stitches out from the surgery on my arm to repair the break in my wrist. The x-rays show that things are going well as far as the break itself goes, but the tissues all around it, going all the way to above my elbow, are still very tender and painful. I have no way of knowing how much of that is from the original fall and injury and how much is from the manipulation involved in the surgery, but that makes no difference in the level of pain. The thing is, it doesn’t matter. This is a situation God has allowed in His gracious plan for me, and I am to be grateful. I am learning how to let others do things for me, as well as how to work through pain to accomplish what needs to be done. My focus on Christ and His kingdom has been sharpened, just as Peter noted. (1 Peter 4:1) My pride has been taken down another notch, and that’s always a good thing. I know that this is yet another thing for which I will be praising God in heaven, and I am blessed if I start now!
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You indeed for Your overflowing, unending grace toward us, even when the circumstances of the moment aren’t pleasant. May my response to everything You allow in my life point people to You, so that they too may experience Your eternal salvation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!