Read 2 Timothy 2:8-10
TURNING OUR TRIALS AS OPPORTUNITIES FOR WITNESSING FOR CHRIST – by Vaneetha Rendall Risner
Vaneetha Rendall Risner writes that, “Everything in our lives is an opportunity to proclaim the gospel. That’s how Paul saw it. Advancing the gospel was the lens through which he viewed everything. I confess that proclaiming the gospel is not my first thought when I’m in pain. My first thought is, “Please, don’t let this happen.” My second thought is, “Help me, save me, deliver me.” Those can be biblical responses (Psalm 22:19–21), but even amidst those cries, we can witness to others. Paradoxically, the greater Paul’s suffering, the more freely the gospel spread (2 Timothy 2:8–10). In prison he didn’t ask that his suffering be relieved or that he’d be released, but that he’d have an opportunity to share the gospel clearly (Colossians 4:3–4).”
“It is in our darkest moments, hottest fires, and deepest pain that we have the greatest opportunity to share the gospel; people want to know the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15). I have a debilitating physical condition, and it is often when I’m facing the sharpest pain and most frustrating weakness that people ask about my faith. I feel grossly inadequate in those moments, so I can testify that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to me (2 Corinthians 4:7)…The disciples could not stop sharing the gospel, even when they knew it meant imprisonment or even death. They rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the name (Acts 5:40–41). If we don’t speak, how will people know that our strength and help come from the Lord? They may otherwise attribute our joyful attitude to our own fortitude, the power of positive thinking, or even an unwillingness to face reality. We need to tell them that it is Christ who has changed us, so they will know that this resilient joy can be theirs as well.”
“People want to see how we respond to our challenging children; our chronic pain; our difficult boss; our financial struggles; our ailing parents; our unwanted singleness. The situations that we wish were most different are likely the places that others are watching us most closely. They are each, therefore, a precious opportunity to share how Christ meets us in our suffering.
Don’t waste your suffering. It is far too valuable. God is using it in a thousand ways you will never see or know, but one way is to advance the gospel (Philippians 1:12). Tell people about the hope in you, how God has met you, why your faith has made a difference in your trials. It is the most powerful witness you have.”
PRAYER: Lord, help me not to waste my sufferings and experiences in life. May I use them to further the gospel.