There is always something to be learned in everything that happens to us.
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost [sinner], Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:16
As I write this, there are eleven days before Christmas.
Have you finished all your Christmas shopping?
There was one year that I kept putting off my Christmas shopping. I was preparing the special worship services, writing the sermons and Bible studies, and every time I thought about shopping for presents and cards, I kept saying to myself, “I’ll do it later.”
That year I found myself in the card store desperately looking for a Christmas card for my wife on Christmas Eve morning. And just the day before, I finally went to the mall and got her Christmas gift.
I was not very prepared for that Christmas at all! Not like I was for a future Christmas that I shared in the devotion “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” which is in the book Christmas Moments II: An Epic Journey of Biblical Proportions.
Remembering the stress and embarrassment of that Christmas – all my fault, by the way – I determined to never let that happen again.
This year I’ve avoided putting off getting cards and gifts – for the most part. I still struggled a bit for the last present I wanted to get for my wife.
I’ve written about how I struggle with the gifts I get for my wife in the devotion All the Gifts You Need.
As it turned out, I just purchased the last present for my wife today, eleven days before Christmas.
I think I know why it took me a bit longer this year that I would have liked.
My wife had given me some ideas and suggestions for the gifts she would like to see under the tree this year. But I was having trouble finding just the right kind of one of those suggestions – until today.
Today, everything just fell into place. I couldn’t have found just the right gift before today. I didn’t panic, I didn’t stress out about it (too much). I was exercising my patience and faith on waiting for God to reveal just the right gift at just the right time.
Today was the day God came through for me in this area.
God has a way of using everything that happens to us, or doesn’t happy to us, for our good. He uses the circumstances we go through to strengthen our faith, teaching us lessons in patience, endurance, and perseverance.
St. Paul expands on this concept in one of his pastoral epistles. In 1 Timothy, he shares with his young protégé and brother-in-Christ that he was actually a violent, anti-Christian sinner before he was an apostle.
He calls himself the “foremost” of sinners.
But the grace of God was that Jesus Christ saved even him. And if God’s grace could overflow for Paul, it will certainly overflow to anyone else.
St. Paul becomes the model of the extent of God’s grace and mercy. He has become the standard of just far Christ is willing to go to save people.
If God could pour out grace on Paul, if Christ could die to save Paul, he will certain save you and me.
And so he does!
Paul would write to the Romans, “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
So, I encourage you who are going through a terrible or stressful time right now. God will use it for your good and his glory. That’s God’s promise to you! (See Romans 8).
And I encourage you to wait on the Lord. Keep your eyes open to God’s working in your life. If things are not going as you planned or as you would like right now, be as patient as you can. God will do something incredible in your life.
And he may just use it to do something incredible in someone else’s life, too!
Heavenly Father, help me to be patient for your working in my life. I’m sorry when I get stressed out worrying about what I will or will not do. Help me to endure and to see the good that you will do in and through my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
©2017 True Men Ministries