I don’t have a really good answer to the question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” (Partly because I don’t know a lot of people who are truly, thoroughly good, but also because when that questioned is asked people are looking for something other than the answer.) However, a more important thing to consider is: why do bad things happen to people who are seeking to proclaim and advance the gospel? The answer here is, so that that message can be made known.
Some would say that Paul is saying here that more and more people are being saved. That is not the complete picture. Paul says the gospel is advancing. Whether or not people are accepting the good news, the fact the message itself is spreading—that the effects of the gospel on the world are increasing—that is the advance.
Tied into that truth is the idea that the motives of the people preaching and proclaiming are secondary to the fact that Christ is being proclaimed. We are pretty obsessed these days with people’s motives and their understanding of secondary issues. Some people are prepared to declare a person an unbeliever based on things as crucial as their understanding of how the second coming will occur, how many years ago the creation occurred, or how many angels can dance on the head of a needle.
We need to come to the realization that it is not about us, our style, our mental capacity or renown. And somehow God can still turn the fact that we don’t get that… for good.
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