A story is told of a young single missionary who lived in a simple rented apartment. The owner of the apartment was often difficult to relate with. Sometimes the owner would be very demanding, would not make repairs when needed, or would raise the rent unexpectedly. It was difficult for the young missionary, but she asked for God's help to forgive and not become bitter.
One day she received word that her family members would be coming to visit and would be staying for several days. In preparation for their visit the young missionary went to the grocery store and bought all the food which she would serve while her families members were visiting. The food completely filled her refrigerator. She was excited about the time she would have with family.
The following day the owner called. The owner's refrigerator had stopped working, so she needed to take the young missionary's. She would come by with some men and a truck to pick it up later in the day. The young missionary was crushed. How could she do this? She had no right! What would she do? And especially when it was full of all the food that she had bought for her visitors who would arrive in 4 days.
She cooked some of the food, put some in a neighbor's refrigerator, and gave some away. She found a way to manage, but it put a deep bitterness in her heart towards the owner. Even after her family had come and gone she still was angered every time she thought about what the owner had done.
This anger had stolen her joy. She knew that God wanted more for her life, but it was so difficult to forgive. She surrendered her anger to God and waited for His grace. As a simple gesture of love the young missionary made some cookies and took them to the owner. It was difficult to deliver them, but this simple action began the process of letting go of the bitterness for the young missionary.
Later that week her doorbell rang. She looked through the peep hole in the door and saw that it was the owner. She braced herself for a difficult conversation and opened the door. To her amazement the owner stood there in tears. At first the owner was silent, but then she began to speak. “I-I-I am so sorry. I have treated you so badly, so many times, yet you have always been so patient with me and my selfishness. I don't understand how or why you do it, but I have never seen anything like it in my life. Can you teach me how to be like you?
What would most of us have done if we had been the young missionary whose refrigerator was taken? Yelled? Cursed? Hated? Retaliated? This young missionary took a situation that seemed impossible and allowed God to turn it into a situation that gave God glory. “What the owner intended for bad, God intended for good.” It is the idea of Potential Glory. Potential Glory is the amount of glory that God is able to receive in any given situation.The more difficult the situation, the more potential glory for God as we live like Christ.
Imagine there is a Christian single who has a nice house, a nice car, a good job, and is free to worship God however and whenever they please. Imagine there is another Christian single who is very poor, and who lives in an anti-Christian country where they have been disowned by their families, have lost their jobs, and could possibly lose their lives because they have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. Both singles faithfully continue to follow Christ, but whose lives show more clearly the worth and the glory of God?
In the life of the first single the world around them may say, “Of course you follow Christ. Look at all the things He's given you. But would you worship Him if life was difficult?” In the life of the second single the world around them may say, “I don't know this Jesus Christ, but He must be someone infinitely valuable if you are willing to give up your comfort, safety, freedom and even your life for Him.”
Both singles have the ability to give God glory in and through their lives, but the potential glory is much greater through the difficult times than the good times. Are we willing to let God change our perspective of our life situations so that we will be ready to turn the worst of situations into the best of opportunities to serve God and make Him known to the watching world? May it be so. Pray that God will begin to rework our desires and our perspective of the world around us. Read scripture with this view in mind and you will begin to see it everywhere. It is a Kingdom truth. The worse the situation the greater the potential glory.