In his epistle to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul references his imprisonment regarding the challenges he faced as he sought to fulfill his calling to communicate the Lord Jesus Christ and His truth.
"But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel" (Philippians 1:12).
Lest we think Paul to be a special case in God's purposes, we do well to remember other words he wrote to the Roman Christians.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:28-29).
Paul identifies the "good" of Romans 8:28 as being our conformity to the Lord Jesus. "All things" work toward that end in the lives of those who trust and love Christ. Thus, the things that happen to us must be viewed in the same God-designed purposes as revealed in the life of the Apostle. We do not live happenstance lives. Our Heavenly Father coordinates everything in our lives to fulfill His loving determination make us like His Son. The blessings flow upon the current of this grace, as do the challenges and the ordinary, seemingly mundane moments. God seeks to further the Gospel and to form Christ in us with an unyielding determination of lovingkindness and faithfulness. "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
When we first believed in the Lord Jesus, we likely did not know how involved the Lord would be in our lives, nor did we understand how Christ-centered His purpose. We still often forget, and require much reminder, encouragement, and challenge to recall that the happenings of our lives are not happenstance. God relentlessly works to change us from "glory to glory", that is from one measure and radiance of Christlikeness unto another (II Corinthians 3:18). Nothing deters Him from the performance of this "good work". To the degree we acknowledge and understand this truth will determine the peace of our hearts as our Father works in our lives, and as we respond. The way often leads to difficult challenge, but the ultimate goal transcends any loss or pain of the process. Remembering and affirming this truth of God's resolve helps strengthen our resolve to trust Him, which in and of itself furthers progress toward the purpose of our conformity to the spiritual and moral image of the Lord Jesus.
"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works."
"I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
Weekly Memory Verse
Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
(II Thessalonians 2:16-17)