Tuesday, August 4, 2020

For the Advancement of the Gospel

Photo Courtesy of: William Farlow

"Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel,  so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly." ~Philippians 1:12-14

What if we looked at all the challenging events of 2020 through this lens? The pandemic, the quarantine, the mask mandates, the economic struggles, the political upheaval....what if we looked at it all through the lens of Christ? What if our perspective of it, our view of it, was one not of despair and fear, but of faith and trust, knowing that our God brings good out of everything? 

How has this crazy year and what has happened to you as a result actually served to advance the gospel? Have you thought about that?

Priscilla Shirer quoted this verse months ago in an Instagram Live video, near the start of the time of quarantine, and encouraged us all to ponder on it during this unprecedented time in our nation's history. Her words and this passage have remained with me this whole time, and I have thought about it quite a bit. How would each of us answer, I wonder? How has this passage proven true in our lives?

I hope and pray that the gospel has advanced by the love we have poured on our neighbors, checking on them, gifting them with baked goods, etc.

I hope and pray that we have been able to present to the watching world an inner peace, contentment, and joy that cannot be humanly explained.

I hope and pray that on the hard days (that we will all naturally have, and that’s ok!), that even as we grieved, lamented, or got frustrated as the Psalmist himself often did, that we were able to end the hard day circling back around to the truth of God’s goodness and His trustworthy faithfulness.

I hope and pray that all this extra time so many of us have had with our kids lately has resulted not so much in all the boxes being checked, all the homework being perfectly completed, and the strict schedules followed, but instead in hugs, helping them process through the big feelings they may be facing in this season, and gospel conversations that never would have happened in quite the same way, if it hadn’t been for this time of quarantine, upheaval, and challenge.

May we all have hope today, knowing that somehow, in some way, God takes every little thing that happens in the lives of His people, brings good from it, and uses it to advance the gospel! Because that is precisely what He is in the business of doing, right here and right now. And He wastes nothing! 

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