The apostle Paul understood how to handle tough circumstances. Even while he was confined in a prison cell, he kept his eyes on Christ and trusted firmly in the Savior. Therefore, despite being in chains, he was able to celebrate the Lord’s work in his life. In fact, the epistle he wrote from jail to the Philippians was filled with rejoicing (; ; 3:1).
Focusing on Christ is neither a natural reaction nor an easy one. Our instinct is to dwell on the situation at hand, searching for solutions or stewing over the pain and difficulty. As a result, troubles look scary and overwhelm us with a sense of defeat.
However, fear and defeat cannot live long in a heart that trusts the Lord. I’m not saying you’ll forget what you’re going through, but you can choose to dwell on His provision and care instead. He is the Deliverer (2 Cor. ). He is the Healer (Deut. 32:39). He is the Guide (Prov. 3:6). The believer who lays claim to divine promises discovers that God pushes back negative emotions. In their place, hope, confidence, and contentment take up residence (Phil. ). You aren’t going to be happy about a difficult situation, but you can be satisfied that God is in control and up to something good in the midst of trouble.
The Lord’s principles and promises don’t change, no matter how severe or painful the situation is. Focus on Christ instead of the circumstances—God will comfort your heart and bring you safely through the trial. Then you can answer Paul’s call to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4).
~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~