Joy Amidst Our Circumstances
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 6:43 pm
The Messenger, October 20, 2011
By members of Obion County Ministerial Associaiton
Is it possible to have joy in the midst of bad circumstances? Can a person experience joy and talk about joy when the last four years of his life have been miserable?
Yes, and the apostle Paul is proof positive that a man can have joy even when the going is rough. He wrote the book of Philippians from prison. Prior to his two years of imprisonment in Rome, where he wrote the book, he had spent two years in prison in Caesarea. As he was being taken from Caesarea to Rome. he became shipwrecked, stranded on an island and bitten by a poisonous snake. Yet in spite of these circumstances, Paul said, “I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice,” (Philippians 1:18)
How can this be? Paul learned some very important truths that we also must learn if we are to experience joy in the midst of our circumstances. First. Paul learned that there are problems to expect. He said, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12) There is no such thing as a problem-free life. Accept the fact that problems do come.
What was it that happened to Paul? If you read this passage, you will discover that he experienced the sheer unfaimess of bondage, the subtle unfriendliness of fellow believers and the seeming unfaithfulness of the Lord. These are three experiences we all will face. Sometimes life’s experiences are unfair, there are times people will hurt us and there are times that it seems as if God is not at work in our lives. Paul learned there are problems to expect.
He also learned that there is a perspective to have. Instead of complaining about his chains, he consecrated them to God and asked God to use them to advance the gospel. God worked through Paul’s circumstances to give him contact with the lost (Philippians 1:12-13), courage to the saved (Philippians 1:14) and character to his life. (Philippians 1:19)
Have you given your problems and circumstances to the Lord? Paul had the right perspective. How do you look at your situations? Paul knew God was able to work all things together for good to them that love God and who are called according to His purpose. Your outlook and uplook will greatly determine your outcome.
Finally, Paul learned there was a person to follow. He said, “For me to live is Christ.” Knowing Christ and serving Christ gave Paul great purpose and meaning. Therefore, his problems did not seem as significant. His utmost concern was to live for Christ. That commitment helped him to deal with life’s problems, keep the right perspective and have joy in his life.
Christ can do the same in your life and my life if we let him. If we follow these principles from God’s Word, we, too, can talk of joy amidst our circumstance,
Rev. Eddie Mallonee
Union City Second Baptist Church