by: Timothy Vazquez
Philippians 1:12 (NLT) And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.
Everyone loves good news and when something good happens to someone that you love and care about, it makes you happy for them. Good things that happen are a blessing to many. But did you ever think about a bad thing that happens to someone that you love and care about that can make you joyful? On top of that, the person who the bad thing happened to is encouraging you to be happy. That's exactly what is going on in the verse above.
The Apostle Paul had gotten arrested and was now in prison. As we know, prison, especially during the barbaric rule of the Roman Empire, was a place of a lot of suffering. So while the Apostle Paul had every human right to complain and look to be encouraged and helped by other believers, he became the source of encouragement and hope for believers everywhere, including us today. The truth that the Apostle Paul lived by is one that we should all strive to live by as well as it leads to great victories even in the face of what looks like defeat. What could be so good about being imprisoned? Paul knew that his life was in God's hands and that God had allowed him to go to prison. From this prison, his communion with God became so intimate that he was able to be the Lord's mouthpiece as he wrote four of the most important letters to the church that are included in the Bible. He wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon from that prison and these letters have helped scores of Christians all over the world to be encouraged in their faith as they live their lives in Christ Jesus.
So what happened to Paul that helped spread the Good News as we learn from the verse above? What happened was that he was imprisoned and while he was there, God gave him a holy boldness to proclaim the Gospel to whoever would listen, great or small. Whether it was a ruler, government official or one of the guards who was guarding him, Paul was telling everyone about Jesus. This boldness that the Lord gave him served as an inspiration to many believers to share their faith regardless of the threats from those who opposed the message. Instead of hindering the Gospel, Paul's imprisonment led to the Good News spreading like wildfire because of his steadfastness in trusting the Lord for his life, whatever that would lead to. It is obvious from the letter to the Philippians that he did not know if this imprisonment would lead to his execution, although he believed that the Lord would allow him to live because of all the work for the Kingdom that needed to be done. So what could've resulted in the diminishing of the spread of the truth about Jesus instead was a catalyst in getting the message out to many more people.
The way that you handle adversity is very important. As children of God, we must remember that our lives are always in God's hands and that nothing happens to us that the Lord doesn't allow and if He allows something, it is for the ultimate good. When the Lord Jesus becomes your all, there is nothing or no one that can keep you from the love, peace and joy that He has given you, no matter what the circumstances around you are. Be like Paul when something happens in your life that most people would complain and become miserable about. Continue trusting God through it all and He will use you to encourage many others to continue their faith journey and not give up no matter what. God will use what many would consider bad things in your life for great results for you and for others around you and that will make it worth it all.
Pastor Joey Vazquez