What does it take for you to get thrown off your game or discouraged? (I forgot my coffee this morning, so I wasn’t off to a great start myself.) Would a flat tire on the way to work do it? A misbehaving child? A past-due bill? How about being arrested for sharing your faith?
Paul was imprisoned three times and he wrote Philippians while being on house arrest for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet look at his statement—the gospel was advancing! Paul goes on to describe how the confidence of other believers was increasing, how guards knew of his imprisonment for Christ, and about how all of his suffering was worth it. He calls believers to be lights in a dark world, reminds them that there is nothing of value in the world compared to knowing Christ, and encourages them to rejoice always.
Even when the world tried to stop Paul, the message of Jesus could not be stopped. Paul did not become discouraged or give up. As you read Philippians you see a man resolute in his faith and in who Jesus is. He became even more focused, determined, and persistent.
Trials are a chance for us to grow! What an opportunity we have through our response—to be a light and example of Jesus to those around us who are lost and broken and looking for a reason to have hope! Even Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, recognized that God could redeem any situation when he said in Genesis 50:20 (NLT), You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
Stop and think back to a difficult time in your life that you have seen God use for good. Thank Him right now with a prayer of gratitude and ask Him to give you eyes to see future trials with an eternal perspective.