See God’s Bigger Picture

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,” (Philippians 1:12 ESV).

No matter what’s going on in your life—the good, the bad, and the ugly—God is working out a plan. Paul knew this. He says in Philippians 1:12, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (ESV).

Ever since becoming a Christian on the road to Damascus, Paul had dreamed one great dream: He wanted to preach in Rome, the center of the universe at the time. His dream was to preach the Gospel in the most important city in the world.

But God had another idea. Instead of sending Paul to Rome to preach crusades, God made him a royal prisoner of Nero, who was Caesar at that time. Nero was about as wicked and as bad as you can get.

Paul was chained to a royal guard 24 hours a day for two years, and the guard was changed every four hours. Over two years in prison, he had 4,380 opportunities to witness to countless guards. Who’s the real prisoner here? Who had the captive audience?

This wasn’t Paul’s plan, but it was God’s all along, and it produced two results that we know for sure.

First of all, Philippians 4 says that within two years, some of Nero’s own household had become believers because of Paul’s witness in the royal court in Rome.

Secondly, it’s kind of hard to get a guy like Paul to stop moving. In prison, he was forced to be still, and as a result, he wrote parts of the New Testament. I wonder which had a bigger impact: his preaching in the Colosseum or the books he wrote that have revealed Jesus to untold numbers of people over the years.

Paul knew that God had a bigger plan, and he could be happy because he saw what God was doing through his problem.

Anytime you have a problem that’s starting to get you down, you need to do what Paul did: Learn to see it from God’s point of view. Ask, “What is God doing here? What’s the bigger picture? What’s the bigger perspective?” Then you’ll be able to face the problem in faith.

Talk It Over

  • Think of a current problem that has you discouraged. How might your discouragement change if you       look at it with God’s bigger perspective?
  • Why do you think God is allowing you to struggle through a hard time?
  • How have you seen God work in the midst of a difficult situation in your past?


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