“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Philippians 1:3.
The Philippians? Really? Maybe some of those memories, but every remembrance?
Philippi was the home of Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened. - Acts 16:14. Certainly the memory of kindred souls in the faith could have made Paul to thank God.
Of course, remembering the damsel that was freed from the spirit of divination surely brought rejoicing to the apostle. But this very joy could have been overshadowed, or even obliterated completely by black recollections. Missionary work is not for the fainthearted. It was in Philippi that Paul and Silas were beaten, imprisoned, and tortured like anybody’s worst nightmare. And yet, the apostle thanked God.
Was it the dawn of new life in Christ that eclipsed the darkness? Was it the eye of faith, seeing triumph in apparent tragedy? Was is that souls were reached, who could not have been in another way?
Did every memory of the Philippians remind Paul that God can overrule circumstances? That something so bad could actually result in good— devoted, stedfast, and whole-hearted believers? Did the thought of their faithfulness strengthen him to trust in trial the character of his Creator?
We likely face nothing akin to what Paul and Silas did, but from the planet we call home, let us give thanks. Let us remember that the character of God has not changed. He can still bring beauty out of ashes, and gold from the fire.
Let us remember, and let us give thanks.