There I was sitting at my desk reading Paul's words and wondering how does he do it. How is it that he's going through possibly the most challenging time of his life and all he does is write letters of encouragement to others and rejoice. Honestly, when I find myself in a dark place it's hard to think of God's blessings in my life, yet alone find the strength to encourage others. But that's exactly what Paul does. Here's a man who went from prosecuting Christians to being prosecuted because he's a Christian. And in the middle of his battle Paul tells us that he will continue to rejoice.  

I have this image in my head of Paul in an actual battlefield shouting this. "I will continue to rejoice"  

And he tells us why: "what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance."  

Paul was a faithful and devout man. He had no questions or doubts about his purpose. Once God came into his life and spoke, literally, he got in alignment with his divine purpose and was never the same. Paul was forever transformed. He understood on a fundamental level that his sufferings had purpose. God was not only preparing him for more, God was laying a foundation for all of us through Paul. And he was by no means perfect. This man had his flaws like you and I do. (Romans 8:15). Yet, he pushed through his pain all to glorify God. And that's exactly what I need to remember, that my pain has purpose. I am not struggling in vain, God is preparing me and He's using me to prepare others. And the same applies to you.  

Trust His purpose. Keep it close to your heart, especially during the hardships. And encourage others to do the same.  

This week I pray that we all remember Paul's message of not only persevering through our struggles, but rejoicing and encouraging, because God has a unique purpose for each of us that he's prepared in advance. (Eph 2:10). I pray we remember and live this truth. Amen.   

Yours Always and Faithfully,