Hindsight is 20-20. We are all familiar with this saying. It means that after the fact we can see things clearly. Perhaps we know later why things happened the way that they did. Perhaps it would have been easy to make a decision if we knew then what we know now. As Christians, we are always wanting to know why things happen the way that they do. Why does the Lord put us in certain circumstances?
As I am studying Philippians, I was struck by the phrase, “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel.”
This was a good reminder for me this morning. The Lord has put us in our particular set of circumstances for the greater progress of the Gospel. He did not make a mistake when He placed you where you are going through what you are going through.
If you have stuck around this blog long enough, you may have heard me say that the Lord has put you exactly where He wants you for your good and His glory. The Lord has your sanctification and the progress of His name in mind. If there was another situation that would have made you more holy or given Him greater glory that’s where He would have put you. But right now He has you exactly where you should be to accomplish those two purposes.
As I read about the Apostle Paul, I am struck by his determined joy. He was chained to a guard night and day for years. But instead of letting this difficult situation steal his joy, he rejoices that people are coming to know Christ as a result of his imprisonment. I loved this quote found in the The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Philippians.
Paul’s circumstances were beyond most people’s ability to comprehend. Yet he was a model of joy, contentment, and peace. Those inner qualities obviously were not based on his physical comfort, his possessions, his freedom, his self-satisfaction, or his reputation and prestige. They were based entirely on his trust in his gracious and sovereign Lord and his delight in the furtherance of the gospel.
We may not know exactly why the Lord has orchestrated things the way that He has until we get to Heaven. We may never know the impact that our lives and testimonies have on others. But we can be confident in the knowledge that He has wisely placed us where He wants us. Even when things are hard and confusing, we can trust that the Lord is working. He has promised that all things work together for good and that He will continue to accomplish a good work in you.
So while we may not ever have a 20-20 understanding of why things are the way that they are, we can be assured that when we are walking with Him our circumstances are for the greater progress of the Gospel.