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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”—Colossians 4:3–4 (NIV)
2020 has been quite the year, and these past few weeks have been particularly rough. I walk through my days with this constant low-grade anxiety about all that’s going on in the world, silently wondering if things will ever be normal again.
I sit at home—in my sanctuary, my safe place—which quite honestly some days feels more like a prison. Desperately, I cry out to the Lord and tell Him all that I’m feeling, because the only way back to peace is with Him and I know it. I need Him to whisper into the madness and remind me that He’s enough.
The apostle Paul knew that Christ was enough. He trusted Him with his very life and knew that whatever circumstances came his way, his hope was secure and his calling remained the same—to declare the mystery of Christ.
Paul wrote a letter to the Colossians while he was in an actual prison, not a figurative one like I spoke of. He found himself “in chains,” and his ultimate desire was to preach the gospel while in them. Today’s verse shows his heart as he says, “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”
Paul saw his trial not as a hindrance to spreading the good news of Christ, but rather as an opportunity to continue his mission in a new and unexpected way. Has this season felt like a hindrance to your calling? I know it has for me at times. Maybe you’ve lost a job or have had to step away from a career to homeschool your children. Maybe instead of moving off to college, you’re staying home and college will now be held virtually in your living room. Or maybe you’re like me and can no longer serve in the ministry you love due to social distancing guidelines. These are all real issues, and God doesn’t look on at them cavalierly. He sees you and me and wants to meet us right where we are and, if we’re willing, He’ll use us for His glory as well!
This year really has been like none other, but I hope that, like Paul, wherever we find ourselves we choose to see opportunities instead of obstructions. May we see our circumstances as platforms to share Christ in new and unconventional ways. And if fear or anxiety begin to rise up within us, I pray we choose to lay them at the feet of Christ and there in His presence find all that we need. Because in this season and in the seasons to come, He is always enough!
DIG: Why is it so important to pray for one another?
DISCOVER: When was the last time you reached out to a friend and asked for prayer? Paul asked the Colossians to pray for him because he knew how powerful and necessary a tool it was in his life and ministry. Are you doing the same? If not, why?
DO: This season has been quite a rollercoaster. Take a minute to write down all the things you have lost, are grieving, or are struggling with. Be honest with God. Once you’ve done this, start a new list and write down all of God’s blessings in this season, both big and small, and thank Him for them.