The Un-envisioned Place

By Francis Frangipane

If we look at the heroes of faith in the Scriptures, we will find people that, without fail, were people of vision. Yet, upon deeper study, we also discover that, even as people of vision, they often found themselves in circumstances that were unlike anything they expected. Yet, it was in this "un-envisioned place" that God established character in His servant. It was here where the Lord released power that fulfilled destiny.

Consider Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. He wrote of his "great desire" to travel to the church in Thessalonica more than once. Yet, he said, "Satan hindered us" (1Thess. 2:17-18)

Paul must have believed that God was telling him to travel, plant churches and evangelize. Yet, if we look at Paul’s life, it seems Paul found himself often stuck in jail, not traveling on apostolic journeys. Although he felt that Satan had thwarted him, God was watching. There, in dark, mildewed cells, Paul allowed the character of Christ to emerge: singing hymns at midnight, rejoicing always, praying without ceasing (see 1 Thess. 5). Jail was not what Paul envisioned for himself, yet in the crucible of this un-envisioned place, by keeping his heart like Christ’s, he stayed inspired. From prison he turned to writing and there penned some of his most profound epistles.

What seemed like a setback, in God’s hands becomes a setup for greater victory! Paul and the other leaders thought that Christ would return in their lifetimes. Having been put in prison and unable to travel, they were forced to write their revelation and not just speak it. Thus, instead of only reaching their generation by personal contact, their writings would touch lives for nearly 2000 years!

Or consider the apostle John. At the end of his life he was exiled to a lonely life on the Isle of Patmos. If anyone was a "people person," it would have been John. He could have become bitter. Certainly, this was not what God wanted for this man, the last one who had been with Jesus Himself? Yet if he had not been exiled, we would not have been given the majesty of the Revelation of John.

Or what of Joseph -- betrayal, slavery and jail was not what this great man envisioned, but it's what the Holy Spirit used to transformed a dreamer into a mighty leader in Egypt. Or did David expect after being anointed by the prophet Samuel, that he would find himself in a wilderness, a fugitive for seven years? No, but it was here, in the injustice of the wilderness years, that God forged in David and his followers the greatest sense of unity the Old Testament would attain.

So also with you. Your current circumstances may not be what you envisioned for yourself, but they are no obstacle for God. Paul learned that God was fully able to reveal Himself, not only in the expected places, but in that which was unexpected as well.

Paul wrote, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place" (2 Cor. 2:14).

I love this verse. Paul wrote that in a time when he might have despaired of life itself. But God is faithful. No matter what the setback seems to be, God always leads us in His triumph in Christ. We can find the sweet aroma of Christ in every place.

He is there with you. As you exercise your faith, as you rest, trusting in Him, do what Christ would do in your circumstances. Unbelief will flee as you become Christlike in the crisis. God will turn your setback into a setup that releases destiny in the un-envisioned place.