God's topsy-turvy love

From "Dwelling with Philippians"...
"For us to discern God's purpose, we must be convinced that what God wills for us is the best thing that could possibly happen to us under any circumstance; we must remember that agape love is our primary calling; and we must be certain that the Holy Spirit will help us know God's will in any situation, revealed to us as we need it and as we are able to respond ... As we grow in discernment of God's will in any circumstance, and as the Holy Spirit reveals more to us of our unique place in God's purpose, it is possible for any Christ follower to experience such confident joy that distinctions between success or failure, acceptance or rejection, even life or death, will mean little or nothing compared to the joy of knowing and serving God through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  For this to be our reality, we must have faith that God's will is always best in every circumstance - we cannot second-guess God.  We remember that God's purpose is always agape love - not the fulfillment of our perceived needs at the expense of others, but the fulfillment of others' truest needs despite the cost to us.  And we must be patient as the Holy Spirit, living in and through us, reveals God's divine purpose to us on a need-to know and able-to-comprehend basis."

Paul knew about living like that.  In Philippians, he wrote to the Christians there about that kind of unflappable, consistent joy.  That might be considered an unimportant detail if it were not for the fact that he penned the words from a prison cell.  He knew experientially that everything that happened to him, even his chains, had helped to spread the gospel (1:12). He believed firmly that he would always honor Christ, whether that be by his life or by his death (1:20) which ended up being the case.  Paul exemplifies someone who both lived and died, suffered and rejoiced, all for God's glory.  He saw his life within the perspective of something much greater - God's eternal plan for the world.  Life this side of heaven is full of mystery, pain and contradiction.  But God holds all firmly in his masterful hands.  Slowly but surely He is working His plan.  What appears topsy-turvy to us, is in reality the Father's love flowing to us, passing through us for the greater good of this world.

Lord, bind my heart, our hearts, to yours.  Help me embrace this topsy-turvy love of yours that at times upends my world.  That I would with joy, in life and in death, trust in you at all times and in everything. In Jesus' name and for the sake of all.  Amen.


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