A Wide Door and Many Adversaries
Have you ever made a decision and quickly regretted it when you faced adversity? I know I have!
There are times in my life when I wish I could go back and do things differently because of the consequences of my choices. Sometimes we can falsely think that if we make good decisions we can avoid suffering or challenges. We can be tempted to believe that only good things will happen if we can just make good enough choices.
The battle tested Apostle Paul thought differently. It's recorded in 1 Corinthians 16:8-9. "But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries."
Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, is saying something very important for us to remember! The door of opportunity is open wide. And there are many challenges (in Paul's situation, specifically people who oppose and discourage). It's a mixed bag! Blessing and opportunity didn't exclude challenge and suffering. God was blessing and opening the door of opportunity wide - nobody could shut that door! But God was also allowing Paul to face people and circumstances that were tough!
Just because we're suffering or facing difficult people or situations doesn't necessarily mean we've made a poor decision or that we're being punished. In this life, trouble is unavoidable. In fact, Jesus promises his followers "In the world you will have tribulation" (John 16:33). Opportunities to serve others also include opportunities to face many challenges and setbacks. But Jesus also gives us encouragement and a promise: "take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Our current adversity can be placed in the context of Jesus' total victory over our greatest enemies through his work on the cross! Sin, death, and hell, have been conquered by Christ's death and resurrection!