November 12, 2016
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel. – Philippians 1:12
Most of us have heard the term “blindsided.” It means being hit or confronted by something that comes from out of our line of vision, taking us by surprise. Often when we hear this word, we think of a auto accident in which one driver does not see the other coming until their cars meet suddenly with a crash. Whatever the exact scenario, the emotional shock and physical consequences of being blindsided usually bring our normal activities to an abrupt halt.
At some point during our lives, most of us are blindsided with an unexpected turn of events. For me, this happened about twenty-five years ago, when my doctor told me I needed to have a serious surgery. The procedure caused me to miss work for six months. Then, about two years later, my husband left our home and my family fell apart. If there was ever a time that I felt blindsided, this was it.
In our focus verse, the Apostle Paul was saying that his imprisonment and suffering were for the sake of the Gospel because it allowed his testimony to be spread to many people. And because of that, in verse 18 he said that he rejoiced in what was happening! Paul’s attitude is commendable, but right after my husband left, I did not see how my troubles could be for the “furtherance of the gospel.” All I knew was that my family and I were hurting.
It took me a while before I could see that the Lord was working in our time of adversity. My sorrow caused me to go to my knees in prayer much more often than I had previously, and I received many promises from God during that period, even for the salvation of my children. Through trust in God, I was able to cope mentally and spiritually, and proved to others that God would see us through. The Lord showed me that He is truly a “friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Later, when I saw others go through similar heartache, I was able to empathize with them in a way that I could not have without enduring it myself. Although the experience is not something I would ever ask for, I can say that the Lord indeed used it to further the Gospel, and in that I rejoice.
Being blindsided is perhaps a scary thought, yet we can find comfort in knowing that our God is never blindsided. He sees what is ahead and He has a plan to use every part of our lives for the sake of the Gospel. With much prayer and strength from the Lord, we can bear whatever comes our way and rejoice in what the Lord is accomplishing through us.