Greater Progress

12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear (Philippians 1).

This year a young man was on the cusp of making golf history by joining only three others who had won two Master Championships in a row.  With a commanding lead of 5 strokes he began the back nine, and then, inexplicably lost six strokes in the first three holes to fall into fourth place.  He fought valiantly through the rest of the round, but could only finish in a tie for second place.

I am convinced his loss brought more glory to God than if he had won.  For, being the gentleman’s game that it is, many a golfer exhibits grace in winning — yet this young unashamedly Christian man of only 22 years exhibited an extraordinary (indeed, supernatural) amount of grace, as he calmly faced difficult questions at his interview, and then, as tradition holds, as last year’s champion, himself honored the winner by placing the Green Jacket on him.  In the end, he understood that the gospel of Jesus is greater than any trophy (or Green Jacket).

This is how the Apostle Paul saw his imprisonment — failure in the eyes of most men, but success in the eyes of God.  For it caused other believers to take greater notice of the truth and power of the gospel through his imprisonment than they would have through his freedom.

Thank You, Lord, for giving grace to face every disappointment or failure in such a way that people will take notice and be drawn to Your grace.  May any disappointment or failure we face This Day be used to encourage others to push through theirs.  Amen.