"Remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead...." ( 2 Timothy 2 v 8)
Paul is writing to Timothy a Christian telling him to remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead. Surely a Christian does not need reminding of this? Apparently so. The context of the surrounding verses is suffering and hardship in ministry. Perhaps Timothy is needing reminding that suffering and the Gospel always go hand in hand.
When there seems to be a loss in ministry – there is often a resurrection that follows at a later time. God can use set-backs for His purposes. I woke up this morning thinking of Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27. Although Paul had warned them not to go on the sailing journey – the end result was a set back – a terrible shipwreck on the Island of Malta. But see how God used – it. It led to many healings and the preaching of the Gospel on the island for 3 months – something Paul would never have done otherwise.
I think of Paul and Silas being arrested and thrown into prison in Acts 16 – again another set-back. This led to the salvation of the Philippian jailor and his family. Again – it would never have happened without this set back. I recall a man I heard about who ended up ill and feeling ‘imprisoned’ in an Italian hospital – and whilst there he witnessed to the man in the bed next to him and led him to Christ – again it seems this would never have happened without this set back.
God clearly uses such ‘set backs’. Sometimes it may even involve a death. I recall the story of a Swedish missionary couple to Africa. The couple failed to gain any converts – or so they thought. The wife fell sick with Malaria and as she was dying was visited by one African boy who brought her eggs. She led him to Christ without the husband knowing about it. After the wife died the husband returned broken hearted to his homeland believing that there had been no converts and that he had simply lost his wife. For many years he was so disappointed with God because he felt god had called them to that part of Africa and could show no fruit from it. For many years he turned his back on God and could not even stand to hear God’s name mentioned in his hearing. One day he saw a newspaper article about a bishop in Africa who was having great influence over hundreds of churches and thousands of believers. He discovered that it had been through the witness of the husband’s dying wife that this single African boy had been converted and had gone on to become one the most influential African bishops in that region. The widower husband turned back to the Lord in his latter years.
There are many such stories. God is at work even through terrible times and hidden ways.
Remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead……