Monday, 23 November 2015
It’s not as bad as you think.
The phone call jangled not just my ears but my faith. This dear family had moved to Tucson for the mother’s health. Her cancer had returned, forcing them into the next stage of the fight. A change of climate, new doctors, and a chance to try an experimental treatment seemed good reasons to relocate. Our church rallied to support them. Meals, housecleaning, childcare for two elementary school kids were all accompanied by persistent prayers for her healing. Then the call came. She was going into hospice. Lord, how can you let this happen? Those children need their mother! That man needs his wife! Don’t let her die! I couldn’t bear it.
Mark came home late that night after being with them. “Honey, you won’t believe what I just encountered. This family is not devastated. They are being upheld by such grace that they are utterly at peace, despite the dreadful news. It is beyond explanation. God’s power…his love for them…was tangible! They actually were more concerned about encouraging me than having me encourage them. I came away full of joy!”
Our passage this week is Philippians 1:12-26. After Paul has warmly greeted his beloved friends from Philippi, he turns to the primary reason for writing them. They had heard about his imprisonment. They knew that he faced probable execution. It was unbearable, the worst possible news. But what they didn’t know was how God was at work, both in the situation and in Paul. His opener, I want you to know…, is his way of saying “It’s not as bad as you think.” Now let’s spend the week finding out why he said that.
Use the “Feasting On Christ Daily Worksheet” to guide your study. We will focus on question #2 this week for discussion purposes, but feel free to chime in with other questions, insights, or applications as well. Enjoy the feast!
Discussion question for the week: What does this passage teach me about God? You can expand this question by asking: What does He do or say? What does He love? What does He hate? What character qualities are evident? What is His name in this section? Do I have a personal question about God that I am bringing to this book?