Philippians 1:12
A Bad Situation Becomes Good

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

When a prisoner is chained to a guard, we would think that person is a dangerous criminal. Likely if it was us, we would be offended and perhaps bitter that such opposition against us has stopped the work of the Lord in which we were engaged. We may consider that a bad situation. However, there are a number of ways to look at such times when persecution and opposition seem to have the upper hand and are winning the battle against the light. The Lord Jesus said there would be such times and we would be blessed because of it [Mat.5:11]. He said it would give opportunity to show the love of God to those who curse, despise and persecute those who are in the service of the Lord [Mat.5:44].

So what could be a bad situation if we allow bitterness to make us wallow in self-pity, can become an opportunity that opens up a whole new area of Gospel activity for the Lord. Paul chose to use his prison time as a time to advance the Gospel throughout the Roman empire. He would not go to all those places, but soldiers who were chained to him for a whole shift, heard the way of salvation and God saved them. They would be sent to the far corners of the empire in their duty as soldiers. They had no way to escape Paul’s witnessing because they were chained to him. As soon as one was off duty, another came on. Though the whole of the empire these men would go as new believers with the essence of new zeal in their hearts and souls. Instead of bitterness, there was boldness in Paul that resulted in blessing in salvation.

How we look at an event or situation depends on our attitude. Are you a pessimist or an optimist? For those who are realists, there will be recognition of the need of unity and comradery among the people of God to advance the Gospel. The meaning of the word “furtherance” is like a person cutting brush through a dense forest to put a road through or to make a field to bring forth a harvest. What may look bad at first glance, may turn into a marvelous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the furtherance of the Gospel.

The situation seemed bad and it could get worse –
But this man didn’t consider being imprisoned a curse
But an opportunity that had come where his faith he could share,
And God had arranged to bring his audience right there.
Not just any audience but a captive one too.
They had to stay near to guard him he knew.
This was a place where his testimony could be seen –
Not discouraged by the circumstances; his witness was keen.

We have times when opportunities are there if we look.
When a job is lost or something valuable took –
Like a home to a fire or the loss of one’s health –
Or the situation arose and we lose all our wealth.
How we react to this and the way we choose to respond
Gives watching people an unspoken view of whose side we are on.
Do we really trust God and allow Him to work through me –
When people listen and watch, what is the message they hear and see?

God allows things to happen and we may never know why
These hard circumstances came until after we die.
But if we are aware of the fact God has let this thing happen –
We may pray for His guidance and grace in this situation.
There may be in the pressure of a time – of indecision,
That God will open a door that previously was hidden.
In a time of discouragement through which I must pass –
There will be some results come that really will last.

The Gospel is often furthered in times of serious opposition,
When observers watch Christians pass through normal human conditions.
They may begin to reflect on the way you act in hard times,
And say to themselves; “Why is their reaction to trouble so different than mine?”
God has His reasons for letting bad things happen to us.
His light seems much brighter when His children don’t fuss –
But use the bad times to bring good – especially to others.
Paul did, and many of the soldiers became his spiritual brothers.

“I don’t know what is ahead Father God: but I do know when I look back, that some of the best results in Gospel activity came when there was serious opposition. I praise Thee for this – and wait – for what will yet unfold here. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”

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