The devotional below was authored by Vincent Carpenter (Football 1985-88) who is the Adult Pastor at Antioch Church in Waco. Vincent oversees the team of family pastors at Antioch as well administrates the family ministry budget. He also manages the development of the church’s Spanish ministry and has oversight of church facilities and the ministry events calendar.
Learn more about Vincent Carpenter and Antioch Church Waco at antiochwaco.com.
We have all experienced feeling “between a rock and a hard place.” I have experienced this in situations as simple as half my family wanting to eat in one restaurant and the other half wanting another place. I have had to make more complex decisions, such as choosing to undergo back surgery, while hearing others say avoid back operations or choosing to do nothing which may risk my future health. Sometimes when there is no easy choice, we can feel fearful or even depressed. In our current crises some feel vulnerable or hopeless.
In such times is there a way to find optimism and joy? Can we have peace and confidence when any decision may result in pain? Philippians 1:21 describes such a situation. Paul is imprisoned and his future looks dim. He may face execution or he may live to face persecution. Talk about being between an inflexible substance and an unmovable object. However, his response was to declare “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” How did Paul adopt such a hope filled attitude?
A crucial component was that the apostle was thankful. Throughout his writings Paul constantly communicated that he was thankful no matter what situation he found himself in. Every book he is credited in writing has an exhortation toward thankfulness in its introduction. Paul was a thankful man and it transformed his mind, his outlook and his entire life. In the middle of our uncertain times, what can we be thankful for? I think the more thankful we can become, the more joy and hope we can experience.
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