How To Be Joyful, No Matter What

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

—Philippians 1:12–14

One of the great joys of the faith is to be used by God to reach others and by that to bring Him glory. It is a special thing that makes us feel really good when we have spoken up or stepped out in faith. The interesting thing about that, though, is we often forget this great truth when facing hardship or heartache, when trials or troubles come our way.

Paul was shackled to a Roman guard by an eighteen-inch chain, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, yet he observed that this shackling actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.

Christian friend, a given circumstance can easily begin to dominate our thoughts and impede us in serving our great King. But any hardship is actually one of great opportunity. Paul said that his being chained to a Roman guard had furthered the gospel, and this in turn led to others’ boldness.

Imagine if Paul had been bitter and complained because of his current situation. What would the whole palace guard have learned then? Would they have concluded that knowing God really doesn’t change how a person faces difficulty? Would they have thought that joy can be experienced only when things are good, but bitterness and frustration take over when things get tough?

My friend, you are neither forgotten nor forsaken, and your current circumstances are some of your greatest opportunities. After all, fruit grows in the valley, not on the mountain peak. God, in His majesty and grace, for reasons that may never be known in this life, has allowed whatever difficulties you have encountered. But one thing you can know for sure: God wants to use you in them to further His gospel, and that, my friend, can even make hard times feel so much better!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.