The Circumstances

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14

Paul described his imprisonment as “my circumstances.” For those who are the masters of disasters, given to holy hyperbole, overstatement and the melodramatic, Paul was the master of the understatement. He had the capacity to remain calm, until he saw what God was up to even in the darkest moments of his life.

Prayer provides night vision goggles, to see the hand of God at work, as well as the futile movements of the enemy. Unexpected, and extreme circumstances often appear to be impeding “the greater progress of the gospel.”  In fact, they may actually by powerfully, and effectively illuminating “the cause of Christ.”

Things are not always what they appear to be. A dead end street may actually be a bridge to a “Great Adventure.” When my wife, Dana, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she immediately embraced it as such. She even called it by that very name. Naming her pain was not an expression of a positive attitude, or wishful thinking on her part. It was a prayerful and powerful perspective. She was neither taking a flight of fancy, nor wallowing in reality. She was “trusting in the Lord.”  Thanks, Dana!

v Faith is a matter of perspective. F.A.I.T.H. = Facing Adversity I Trust Him.

Nothing improves a person’s perspective on the circumstances of life quite like praying through a crisis. Prayerless people hit the panic button at the first sign of a crisis. Prayerful people hit their knees. It is amazing how much a person’s perspective can improve when they allow the circumstances of life to drive them to their knees. Prayerless people will find themselves running in circles if they don’t stop an pray.

Prayerful people are not immune from the crises of life. They are just better stewards of them than prayerless people. Prayer provides “more courage to speak the word of the Lord without fear.” The place of prayer does not provide flimsy camouflage for those looking to hide in the tall grass. It gives the courage to stand on the firing line, right next to The Champion, and lean on Him for the meaning of the battle, and the means to win it.

The Praetorian Guard was an elite outfit, charged with guarding Paul. Praying through his crisis empowered Paul to share God’s love with his guards, in spite of his chains.  Prayer warriors are God’s Special Forces. When given the hardest assignments, they don’t run in panic from them. They pray their way through the dark, until they are standing next to The Champion. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!