Opportunity to Share the Faith…
Sometimes, the trials and obstacles of our life are put in our way as an opportunity to share the faith:
You did me no wrong; you know that it was because of a physical illness that I originally preached the gospel to you, and you did not show disdain or contempt because of the trial caused you by my physical condition, but rather you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. Where now is that blessedness of yours? Indeed, I can testify to you that, if it had been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. -Galatians 4:12-15, NAB
The Bible does not go into much detail about St. Paul’s physical illness. Based on verse 15, it may have been related to his vision somehow. Regardless, the Galatians took him in, and it gave St. Paul the opportunity to share the faith with them.
St. Paul’s illness must have been significant enough to stop his regular ministry for a time. As frustrating as this may have been, he must have been pleasantly surprised with God’s plan for him to teach the Galatians about Jesus Christ. He could have easily sat in the misery of his situation, but he made the most of the opportunity. The results were probably far greater than he expected.
Life will present us with a number of opportunities like this. Think of some of the most inspiring stories of faith that you know, and most of them include overcoming obstacles and in some cases, great tragedies. From battles with cancer to surviving the loss of a loved one, our greatest saints lived through some difficult times.
Have you faced major obstacles in your life, with your health, finances, or otherwise? How have you responded? You have two choices: live a life of grief and despair, or overcome those difficulties and be a shining example of faith. The choice is up to you.
I would not ask you to do anything that I am not willing to do myself. After a series of poor choices and self-induced stupidity, I have lived through my share of rough times. As difficult as that time in my life had been, I did everything I could to keep the faith (though it waivered at times). Now, I can use those experiences to help others in difficult situations. Looking back, I can see God’s greater plan for my life more clearly.
Life will present its obstacles; it’s unavoidable. But we cannot measure our lives by the number of trials we faced; instead, we must measure our lives by how we faced them. Next time you face a difficult situation, it may be God presenting an opportunity to share the faith. Stand up, face the situation head on, and let the world see what faith can really do.