Every circumstance – whether we perceive it to be good or bad – can be used for God’s purposes and for advancing the gospel message. It’s not the circumstances themselves but rather our attitude and response to them that can be useful in advancing the gospel.
The Apostle Paul shared his perspective in his letter to the Philippians:
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel
Paul’s imprisonment (regardless of how unjust and inconvenient it may have been) was not only useful in advancing the gospel into the heart of Roman government and culture, it also created a boldness in those who observed Paul in the midst of his time in captivity such that they felt more free and courageous to share the good news in their own context.
When things don’t go our way and the whole world seems to be conspiring against us, will we have eyes to see God-ordained events or will we see inconveniences? Will we, through eyes of faith, see opportunities to bring glory to God or will we see an unfair derailment of our own plans?
God has allowed the circumstances and He can use them to glorify Himself and to fulfill His good purposes for us if we are willing to submit all things to Him, acknowledging His sovereignty and goodness.
Will we trust God in the midst of circumstances that may be perceived as challenging and overwhelming? Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Will we believe this?
In his book Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts Jerry Bridges says, “If God controls the circumstances of the sparrow, how much more does He control the circumstances that affect us? God does not walk away and leave us to the mercy of uncontrolled random or chance events.” He also acknowledges, “If we are going to learn to trust God in adversity, we must believe that just as certainly as God will allow nothing to subvert His glory, so He will allow nothing to spoil the good He is working out in us and for us.”
The next time you find yourself in the midst of challenging or unpleasant circumstances, anticipate how God will use them to further complete the work of sanctification in your life and to advance the gospel and bring glory to Himself. Lift your eyes off of the wind and crashing waves around you and keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus. Trust that He will work all things together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Allow the testimony of how you suffer and respond to difficult circumstances advance the gospel and cause others who witness your suffering to praise your Father in heaven.