Will I Be Happy When My Problems Disappear?
My guess is that things have not always gone as you have planned. Sometimes life is anything but easy and your walk with Jesus has more worries than victories. In Philippians chapter one, Paul addresses some of his personal challenges then quickly moves to the problems facing the Philippians believers. He’s told them that he will win either way, that his circumstances will turn out for the advance of the gospel, and that his joy will continue to increase.
Now his concern is for the church. He’ll be okay, but what about them?
- Will they go in the tank when trials come?
- Will they pout when they have problems?
- Will they fold instead of being faithful?
- Will they turn on each other instead of working with each other?
- When things are not easy will they get queasy and begin to question their faith?
You can find joy in your problems when you know that you don’t have to suffer alone. You can find joy in your problems when your suffering is proof of your salvation. You can find joy in your problems when you know your suffering is for Christ’s sake.
Paul tells us in verse 27 of chapter one, that while we live here, our habits should reflect heaven, “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” This phrase refers to weighing something on scales. The idea is that our manner of life should weigh as much as the gospel we claim to be committed to. How we dress, how we speak, and how we act must line up with our ultimate loyalty. We are not just individuals who can do what we want; we are interdependent members of the community of faith, with our heritage firmly rooted in heaven.
Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe reminds us that the world around us knows the Gospel message by what they see in us:
“You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day,
by the deeds that you do and the words that you say.
Men read what you write, whether faithful or true:
just what is the gospel according to you?”
Paul says, to “stand firm in one spirit.” This wording describes a Roman military formation in which the soldiers stood side by side, shoulder to shoulder. As they gathered in as close as possible to each other, they held their shields up and their spears out. They were nearly impenetrable in this posture. This word was used of a soldier who defended his position no matter what.
Instead of standing together, some of us are splitting apart, but unity is extremely important to Christ, as reflected in his prayer to the Father in John 17:23: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
Will I be happy when all my problems just disappear? Well, it’s a silly question, isn’t it? We have problems and issues and suffering and difficult situations. But remember: You are not alone in your struggles, your agony, or your suffering.
In our American Christian subculture, where we often speak of blessings, prosperity, and God’s favor, verse 29 provides a good corrective for us: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.”
Salvation and suffering are grace gifts from God that emanate from His choosing of us and His sovereignty. We are quick to attribute our salvation to God’s grace but slow to realize that suffering is also a gift. Do you see your problems as a privilege?
Friends, salvation comes from the Lord, and so does suffering. When you go through a tough time it doesn’t mean that God let something get through while He was asleep. Everything comes to you through the filter of His faithfulness. And suffering is part of his plan for each of us.
When you’re being tossed around by trials remember the words of 1 Peter 4:12-13: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ…”