“Hey Mom, can I eat candy for breakfast?” – my son.
“No way!” – me.
“Haha, today is ‘Opposite Day,’ so ‘no’ means ‘yes!'” – my son squeals with delight.
Anyone with elementary school children has likely had some version of this conversation. “Opposite Day” humorously encapsulates days when everything seems contrary to expectations. This notion often mirrors how God operates.

Consider Philippians 1:13-14:
“As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”

Wouldn’t you have expected the believers would be afraid and discouraged by Paul’s arrest and quietly disburse? The Romans believed this would happen or they would not have arrested him. But in the spiritual realm, expressing faith in God despite circumstances being painful and difficult does change things. Paul’s imprisonment, instead of deterring the Gospel, emboldened other believers. God’s ways often reflect this “Opposite Day” effect. The last will be first, His power is perfected in weakness, and the humble shame the proud.

In my own life, I have experienced this “opposite” spiritual effect. Painful and humbling circumstances, which I never anticipated, have tested me on every level—emotionally, physically, and spiritually. There were times I felt disqualified from being used by God because of these circumstances. Yet, God transformed my most challenging moments into the very thing that allowed me to be of the most help and encouragement to others facing the same difficulties. What felt like the very thing disqualifying me from being a voice for the Lord, turned out to be the very thing giving me a voice.

When we face trials or suffering, our instinct is often to question, “Why?”. We worry somehow we have made a misstep and the adverse circumstance is some form of correction or punishment from God. Rarely do we consider our suffering might serve to strengthen the faith of others. During trials, we might withdraw from fellowship out of shame or a sense of inadequacy. When we lose a job or face financial difficulties, do we believe God is using us to strengthen others, or do we feel inferior? When a marriage falters or a child goes astray, do we see these challenges as opportunities for God to strengthen others’ faith, or do we fear judgment and pull back? We often worry our struggles might discourage the faith of others, but Philippians 1:13-14 shows that our steadfast trust in God amidst difficulties encourages and strengthens others.

Just as Paul faithfully endured imprisonment, resulting in increased faith among believers, we can trust God to work similarly in our challenges as we continue to trust Him, praise Him, and seek His guidance. As we rely on God in difficult times, the spiritual realm takes notice, and the kingdom of darkness is pushed back. May we encourage and strengthen others as well as ourselves through our patient faith in God, knowing He delights in turning things upside down.

Jenn Witmondt
Associate Counselor

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