How are we, believers in The Christ, to view our difficult circumstances: when we suffer physical or emotional pain, when we cope with loss of dear persons or possessions, when we wrestle with unexpected and disruptive change, or when we are staring into the great unknown? How can we have a kingdom view (it is all about Jesus) instead of a self-centered view (it is all about me)?
It may be easy to respond to every moment in life by telling ourselves “it is not about me.” We could write off every painful event without need for thought or discovery. Why waste time attempting to understand things that happen to us when we know we cannot fully know in this life. We confess the futility of trying to understand some things by saying, “only God knows.”
We may find comfort in our lack of understanding in the opening words of the James epistle. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” It is good to view our troubles and trials as that which shapes us for God’s purposes. We find comfort knowing that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Still, these explanations seem to be a “what about me?” view of things.
We know our tough times and troubled life are short lived and that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). That does not answer the “why?” or the “why me?,” but it is true that our hope is in the Lord. We accept the admonition to live out our faith, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
Yet, for me, there is still the question: How can we have a kingdom view (it is all about Jesus) instead of a self-centered view (it is all about me)? Instead of thinking, “what is God doing to me?” can we ask, “What is God doing through me for His Kingdom?” I believe Paul had this point of view when he said, “I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).
There it is! We can be more concerned about the Gospel than about me. We can pray that every adversity, distressful dilemma, conflict, or crisis, will become opportunity for giving the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul said to the church in Galatia, “You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first” (Galatians 4:13). Oh, to be able to reflect on our circumstances with a view of how God used them or is using them for “the furtherance of the gospel!”