PLACE AND PURPOSE
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.
There are two ways to look at every situation: how it will affect you and how it will affect God’s kingdom. The apostle Paul was always concerned with how his circumstances could aid the spread of the gospel. When he was unjustly imprisoned, he immediately looked to see how his imprisonment could bring God’s salvation to others (see Acts 16:19-34; Phil. 1:13). When he was assailed by an angry mob, he used the opportunity to preach the gospel (see Acts 22:1-21). When Paul’s criminal proceedings took him before King Agrippa, his thoughts were on sharing his faith with the king (see Acts 26). Even when Paul was shipwrecked on an island, he used that circumstance to join God’s activity (see Acts 28:7-9). Regardless of his circumstance, Paul’s concern was using his current situation to tell others of God’s good news of salvation.
Often when we encounter a new situation, our first thoughts aren’t about God’s kingdom. When we face a crisis, we can become angry or fearful for our own well-being rather than looking to see what God intends to do through our circumstances. If we remain self-centered, we miss much of what God could do through our experiences, both for us and for those around us.
Will you dare to believe that God, who called you to Himself and equipped you with His Spirit, could work mightily through you? Have you made the connection between the time and place in which you live and God’s call on you? He placed you precisely where you are for a purpose.
World events never catch God by surprise. History is replete with examples of Christian men and women who believed God would work through them to make a significant difference for His kingdom. God strategically placed Joseph to become the most powerful adviser to the pharaoh in Egypt and to save Jacob and his family from a devastating drought (see Gen. 41:39-40; 45:5-7). God strategically placed Esther in the king’s court at a crucial time when she could save the lives of God’s people (see Esth. 4:14).
The same God who was at work in and through the lives of biblical heroes is still at work today. Reading those stories, we may forget that real men and women had to trust God to work in incredibly difficult situations. We know the end of the story. But they were living in the middle of it.
You’re a part of the same adventure—the narrative of God’s kingdom. Wherever you are, the story’s about Him. It’s not about you. And because it’s God’s story, you can be sure He has a plan for where you are right now. He’s doing something in you or through you for His purposes. God is always at work around you. Even if you don’t understand, trust the One who says:
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
There are two ways to look at every situation: how it will affect you and how it will affect God’s kingdom. Which best describes your perspective?
How are you allowing your current situation to determine the way you invest your life?
How are you letting God use you to make a difference in your generation?
What was the most meaningful statement or Scripture you read today?
Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response to God.
What does God want you to do in response to today’s study? [Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby (2014). Seven Realities for Experiencing God – Member Book. LifeWay Press. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]