Trust God and His Bigger, Better Plan
“I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.” Philippians 1:12 (NLT)
If you want to be a happy person, you need to look at every problem from God’s perspective. Happy people have a larger perspective. They see the big picture. When you don’t see things from God’s point of view, you get discouraged, frustrated, and unhappy.
No matter what’s going on in your life—the good, the bad, and the ugly—God is working out a plan. Paul knew this. He says in Philippians 1:12, “I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News” (NLT).
Ever since Paul became a Christian on the road to Damascus, he had one great dream: He wanted to preach in Rome, the center of the universe at the time. His dream was to preach the Gospel in the most important city in the world.
But God had another idea. Instead of sending Paul to Rome to preach crusades, God makes him a royal prisoner of Nero, who is Caesar at that time. And, Nero is a wicked and corrupt leader.
As a royal prisoner, Paul is chained to a royal guard 24 hours a day for two years, and the guard is changed every four hours. Over two years in prison, Paul has the opportunity to witness to thousands of guards. Who’s the real prisoner here? Who has the captive audience?
This isn’t Paul’s plan, but it was God’s plan all along, and it produces amazing effects. There are two results that we know for sure.
First, Philippians 4 says that within two years of Paul’s imprisonment, some of Nero’s own household had become believers because of Paul’s witness in the royal court in Rome.
Second, it’s kind of hard to get a guy like Paul to stop moving. In prison, he is forced to be still, and, as a result, he writes most of the New Testament. I wonder which had a bigger impact: his preaching in the Colosseum or the books he wrote, including Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. These seven books have revealed Jesus to millions of people over the years.
Paul knows that God has a bigger plan, and he can be happy because he trusts what God is doing through his problems.
Any time you have a problem that’s starting to get you down, you need to do what Paul did: Learn to see it from God’s point of view. Ask, “What is God doing here? What’s the bigger picture? What’s the bigger perspective?” Then, you’ll be able to face the problem in faith.
Talk It Over
Think of a problem that has you discouraged right now. How does your discouragement change when you look at it with God’s bigger perspective?
Why do you think God is allowing you to struggle through a hard time?
How have you seen God work in the midst of a difficult situation in your past?
This devotional © 2022 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.