Will I Be Happy When My Problems Disappear?
By Jeff Cranston
If you are like most people, my guess is that things have not always gone as you have planned. Your life is anything but easy, and your walk with Jesus has more worries than victories some days. The Bible teaches us, however, that even in the midst of suffering, we can find joy.
Read Philippians 1:27-30. In this passage, Paul, who is chained in a Roman prison, is not concerned about himself as much as he is with the problems of the Philippians, and his concerns for them can also be seen as things we should ask ourselves.
· Will we pout when you have problems?
· Will we fold instead of being faithful?
· Will we turn on each other instead of working with each other?
The good news is that we do not have to go through life’s challenges alone:
1. You can find joy in community. (vv. 27, 30)
Paul, in verse 27 says, “ … with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel … ” The idea is that we are to compete as a team to advance the gospel message. We are not just united for unity’s sake. We are put together for the purpose of winning others to Jesus.
In verse 30, Paul says, “We are in this struggle together … ” (NLT) The Philippians remembered what Paul went through at Philippi (see Acts 16), and they know a little bit about his current situation. Paul tells them that their struggles are the same. The topic and intensity might be different, but every believer is struggling in some way.
May I remind that you are not alone! Not only do we have one another, ultimately, we have Jesus. He is our model, and He provides the power for us to persevere through our problems.
2. You can find joy in the face of opposition. (v. 28)
It’s easy to become afraid when people come after you. Paul addresses this in verse 28: “ … without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.” Paul doesn’t want you to be alarmed or jumpy when you face opposition. There will be many who stand in opposition to you because you are a Christ-follower and because you hold to biblical teachings and principles. That’s okay; that’s the believer’s normal life. And in that you can find joy.
3. You can find joy when your suffering is for Christ’s sake. (v. 29)
In our American Christian subculture, where we often speak of blessings, prosperity and God’s favor, verse 29 provides a good corrective for us: “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake …”
Friends, salvation comes from the Lord, and so does suffering. When you go through a tough time, it doesn’t mean that God let something get through while He was asleep. Everything comes to you through the filter of His faithfulness. And suffering is part of His plan for each of us.
We will suffer, it’s part of life; but when we keep our perspective of what God wants to do in and through us, and we go in and through it, we can find joy.
Jeff Cranston is lead pastor of LowCountry Community Church in Bluffton, S.C.