by Shane Williams
via The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 9, Nos. 4,5, Aug/Sept. 2008.
Once we decide to obey God completely, it's easy to assume that the rest of our life will run smoothly. If it does, we think this proves that we're doing God's Will. If we run into obstacles, however, we're quick to conclude that we must be doing something wrong or God is unhappy with us. Rather than question our measuring stick, we question our dedication, and sometimes even God.
It's a myth to believe that if we obey God, everything will always go well. Being dedicated to God means going with Him even when things don't go our way. In fact, as you consider the growth of the church in the first century, the Bible is clear that the gospel advanced during times of suffering.
Although Paul was imprisoned when he wrote to the Philippians, his adversity didn't cause him concern. His objective was to preach the gospel and he didn't question that goal just because he had been arrested. He made the most of the circumstances and continued to proclaim Jesus even to his captors. His imprisonment furthered the gospel!
"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).
How would you and I react if we were in Paul's shoes? Would we question our faithfulness, God's love for us, or perhaps question if there was even a God?
Don't be fooled by the misleading notion that life will be easy if you obey God. God doesn't always remove difficulties; He uses them for your good and for His glory.