Where Would You Be If _____ Never Happened to You?

by Steve Klein
The Bulletin of the Church of Christ at New Georgia,
April 1, 2007

Somerset Maugham, the English writer, once wrote a story about a janitor at St. Peter's Church in London. One day a young vicar discovered that the janitor was illiterate and fired him. Jobless, the man invested his meager savings in a tiny shop, where he prospered, bought another, expanded, and ended up with a chain of stores worth several hundred thousand dollars. One day the man's banker said, "You've done well for an illiterate, but where would you be if you could read and write?" "Well," replied the man, "I'd be janitor of St. Peter's Church in Neville Square" (From Bits and Pieces, June 24, 1993, p. 23).

Many times in life the things that appear at first to be misfortune wind up bringing us success or blessing in our lives. This is illustrated many times in the Bible.

  • If Joseph had never been sold into slavery, falsely accused and then imprisoned, would he ever have been elevated to a position in Egypt that allowed him to preserve his family?
  • Where would Daniel have been if he hadn't been taken into Babylonian captivity? Would he have had the opportunity to bring honor to the God of heaven before foreign kings?
  • Where would Zaccheus have been if he were taller?
  • Would the blind man in John 9 ever have become a believer in Jesus if he had not been "born blind"?
  • What if the woman who touched the hem of Jesus garment to be healed had not suffered a "flow of blood" for 12 years? Would her faith have been as strong?
  • Would the centurion have come to Jesus if his son were not paralyzed and dreadfully tormented? (Matthew 8:6).

When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he was in Roman prison. But he was able to see the good that had come from his circumstances. "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ" (Philippians 1:12-13).

If we will but take the time to look at our lives, we'll often find what Paul found. Misfortune and adversity have resulted in positive outcomes. "Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass" (Psalms 37:5).