Even this baby stopped crying to be like “u’s a grown man, get it together”
Who hasn’t done that as a kid, right? No one? Wow, that was awkward….Let’s proceed. Unfortunately, this time there were no pretend scenarios, no crowds going wild, and no Super Bowls being won; just a 30 year-old man forced to “run” in an awkward, slow-motion fashion to keep his balance. No matter how hard I concentrated on telling my legs what to do, they weren’t getting the message fast enough and remained completely out of sync with my arms. I was stunned. It never dawned on me that difficultly walking would translate into such a loss of athletic ability. I have only cried a few times since my diagnosis, and that day was one of them. Since then, I have become keenly aware of my new limitations and at times have dwelt on them (And by “at times,” I mean all-the-time, haha). I believe this is a natural response, at least at first, but a Christian cannot remain in a state of self-loathing (1 Kings 19, Elijah; Gal. 6:9-10). At some point, we have to see the opportunity in our limitations. Otherwise, we are not only limited physically and emotionally by trials, but we also squander great opportunities to make a difference in the Kingdom of God (Matt. 25:24-27).
Paul was in a “hired house” at Rome as he wrote the book of Philippians. According to other letters he wrote during this time, he often found himself shackled in chains (Eph. 6:20; Col. 4:3, 18; Philem. 9-13), though he did have the freedom to receive associates (Acts 28:30). For most, this would have been a long, limiting two years. “Imagine what I could be doing, if I wasn’t so limited!” I can visualize myself saying, if I were in his position. Conversely, Paul didn’t have such a negative attitude about his limitations; instead, he seized every opportunity to succeed within his limiting circumstance.
Paul affectionately wrote, “But I would ye should understand, brethren,” (Philippians 1:12a). Paul had an intense desire for Christ’s church in Philippi (“brethren,” 3:1, 13, 17; 4:1, 8, 21) to be aware that his present circumstances had not limited his ability to fulfill his life’s vocation (1 Cor. 9:16; Eph. 4:1-3). Paul continued, “that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (12b). Instead of being negative, Paul wrote that his circumstances, namely, imprisonment for two years, had actually contributed to the “furtherance of the gospel.” The word translated “furtherance” is a compound word “derived from pro, “forward,” and kopto, “to cut” (Jackson 46).