As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Ephesians 4:1)
Have you ever found yourself in a tough circumstance and thought, “Why in the world is this happening to me?” I think it’s safe to say we’ve all asked this question at one time or another. I am sure Paul asked himself this question once or twice during his time in prison.
Not only was Paul well-educated, religiously-astute, and academically-prepared to go toe-to-toe with the Jewish Pharisees, but he was also extremely passionate about spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. He was fired up about ministering to people who needed Jesus. Yet there he was, locked in a prison, completely incapable of doing ministry the way he desired.
Paul, along with many other people, didn’t realize that God had a completely different plan for his ministry. Paul’s public ministry may have been cut short by his imprisonment, but a new ministry opened up for him. As he began to write while he was locked up, he was able to do much more with a pen than he ever would have done from a pulpit.
Paul wrote the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, all while he was in prison. Think about the massive impact that he has had for God’s Kingdom through each of those books. The words which God inspired Paul to write have long outlived him and have influenced the lives of millions of Christians!
It is important to note that when life didn’t turn out the way he expected, Paul didn’t sit around complaining, and asking God, “Why is this happening to me?” Yes, he might have wondered that, but he didn’t stop there. He still moved forward in obedience, doing what the Lord was leading him to do in various situations.
We can learn much from Paul, as we walk through our own seasons which don’t make sense from a human perspective. We need to understand that there is purpose in where God has placed us. Wherever we are relationally, professionally, financially, or otherwise, God has us there to fulfill His plan and His purpose for our lives. The best thing we can do is to align ourselves with Him, honor Him with our actions, and move forward in obedience, regardless of where He allows us to be.