When God Uses Bad for Good




Scripture:

Gal. 4:12   Friends, I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong. 13 You know that it was because of a physical infirmity that I first announced the gospel to you; 14 though my condition put you to the test, you did not scorn or despise me, but welcomed me as an angel of God, as Christ.

Observation:

This is a portion of scripture that is rather obscure and for which we know very little detail. It can be interpreted in any number of different ways, but some would suppose that when Paul arrived in Galatia, he was either ill, or was suffering badly from persecution, which could have included beatings. Whichever the case, he was not in good physical condition and evidently needed the help and assistance of the people in Galatia. At the same time, because he needed care, it appears that he ended up staying among these people and they welcomed and cared for him. As a result, he had ample opportunity to share with them the gospel. 

Application:

This has not been an easy week. As a church we have wrestled with the loss of our sisters and brothers in Cuba. There were ten pastoral couples who died in a terrible plane crash. Overall, we believe there were thirteen clergy who died, as some of the couples served together in ministry. It’s in times like this that you wonder whether God can make anything good out of such a sad situation. 

Paul seems to give us a hint that its possible for God to use bad for good. Paul’s life was not easy and he was often persecuted. He spent a lot of time on the road and, more than likely, was not always healthy. He ate different foods and drank different water which may have been a cause for physical distress. We also know that he was imprisoned and beaten because of his faith in Jesus Christ. We would all imagine this to be an obstacle to Paul’s ministry, and yet, somehow, God used his circumstances to bring him into contact with those who needed to hear the story of Paul’s transformation and of the good news of Jesus. Paul never missed an opportunity to tell others about what Jesus had done for him. 

I’m not sure how the situation in Cuba will play out, but be assured that as a result of this tragedy there will be many individuals who may hear, for the first time, about resurrection power. We pray that God might use this terrible accident to bring life to many others. 

We may choose to have a good attitude in the midst of our difficult circumstances. The other option is to loudly complain! Somehow, Paul chose to see the good and learned that in every situation God was giving him opportunities to tell others about what Jesus had done for him. What if we chose to live our lives in this way? When we refuse to grumble, complain and be critical — it’s easier for other people to take care of us as well! They may even want to be around us. 

There is no promise in life that things will go well. We all do the best we can, knowing there will be times of struggle. In moments of difficulty we place our trust in God, allowing Christ to transform the bad into something good. 

Prayer:

Lord, may your sweet Spirit continue to transform my attitude in the good and the bad. Amen! 

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