By Cynthia Northrop
Special to Inside The Pew
“Now I want you to know, brothers, that the things that happened to me have rather furthered the advancement of the gospel, so that my imprisonment has become known in the whole palace guard and to everyone else, and most of the brothers, having put their trust in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have even more courage to speak the word fearlessly” (Philippians 1:12-14).
These words in the Book of Philippians, penned by Paul while he was in prison, always struck me with such force. There is something powerful occurring when one can see beyond a particular set of circumstances they find themselves in. I suppose that is one of the reasons his words, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am,” (Philippians 4:11) resonate with me and is one of my favorite bible verses.
We all face challenging times and difficult circumstances. More often than not, these times that challenge the soul happen throughout our lives and are not limited to just one or two isolated instances. Many of us have read inspirational quotes like, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” or something to the effect of trials will come but it’s how we choose to respond to them that makes the difference.
What really makes the difference is the power of the Holy Spirit residing in believers because when the going gets tough we need something bigger than ourselves. We can rely on the fact that Jesus in us is greater than any circumstance or obstacle we may face.
God’s faithfulness may not look or feel like what we think it should look and feel like. He may ask us to learn to be content in the midst of the storm or the fire. He may ask us:
- Can you be content in me in a job where you have been marginalized, persecuted, demoralized and humiliated?
- Can you be content in me with your less than perfect health?
- Can you be content in me with your loneliness?
- Can you be content in me when you lose a loved one?
- Can you be content in me with failure?
The secret is resting, trusting and believing that just as God ministered grace, mercy and peace to Paul while he was imprisoned, He will be faithful to do the same to us in our particular set of circumstances.
Trust and know that In the midst of any hardship or challenge that He has a plan and a purpose, and like King David, command your soul to hope in the Lord. Believe that He loves you and that He has you in the palm of His hand. Believe that He is your provider, protector, defender, and even your best friend.
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” John 15:15.
Cynthia Northrop considers herself a community activist desirous of being salt and light in the world as called by God. She has been active in local government serving in the capacity of elected official and has served on numerous boards and committees including The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and currently serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of North Central Texas. She is a musician singer/songwriter with 5 self-produced CD’s of mostly original work and has served on her church praise and worship team for over 20 years. Cynthia’s writing endeavors include stints reporting for a Christian tabloid released in the DFW metroplex, articles for local newspapers, technical writing and blogs. She is currently writing her first book. Cynthia is a long-time certified health and fitness professional with over 20 years of group exercise and personal training under her belt.