Are you allowing God to use your suffering to minister to others?
Recognizing that despair, anxiety, and sorrow comprised the natural response to suffering, Paul taught that it was possible to experience joy, to take pleasure in Christ, even when we struggle. First, Paul demonstrated that joy begins with humility (Philippians 1:1-2). Second, Paul communicated that joy grows in community (Philippians 1:3-8).
Third, Paul taught that joy prays for ministry.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
Paul’s prayer request was that love would abound more and more through experience and intimacy so that the church would be sincere, literally judged by the light. Sincere meant that pottery or marble was the same all the way through. Potters and marble cutters would cover flaws with wax. The only way that their pieces were proven either genuine or full of wax was to be held to the light.
When we pray for ministry, that God will use our suffering to draw others to Him, our despair is transformed into joy. Consequently, His light shines through our lives so that we reflect Christ’s image.
Pray that God will use your suffering to draw others to Him. Exchange your despair for joy as you reflect Christ’s image. He can use you to save a life from suicide, restore another for eternity, free a grudge-holder from the prison of withholding forgiveness, or further someone’s journey to full surrender. He who began a good work will complete it!