Friday, May 11, 2012

“Our Prison, Our Epistle”

    From a Roman prison, the Apostle Paul wrote the epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.
      These letters would likely not exist had Paul not been incarcerated.  He would have visited the churches and people rather than pen the passages and verses that would become part of the Word of God.  Thus, missing from the Bible would be some of its brightest illumination regarding the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, along with the promises, commands, encouragements and challenges that lead born again believers into vibrant relationship with God.
    Indeed, can you imagine a Bible without the following?
     “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).
    What prison are you in, and what epistle will you write by trusting and submitting unto God in binding circumstances and conditions that no prayer or effort changes?  Our “incarcerations” come in myriads of ways unique to ourselves, and to God’s purposes in our lives.  We are not apostles, of course, but neither is our Lord a “respecter of persons” (Ephesians 6:9).  We can therefore be sure that our personal and particular hour of difficult circumstance that keeps us from living life as we would choose provides opportunity to reveal the crucified and risen Lord Jesus to our world.
    As with Paul, we may not in this lifetime discover the far-reaching impact of the Light that shines in and from our prison.  We can only have confidence that it will.  Our Lord wastes nothing in the lives of His trusting children, no, not a moment, not a joy, not a pain, not a smile, not a tear.  He wastes nothing.  Let us therefore lift our heads in the darkness of our cell, as it were, to see the Light that glimmers most beautifully and brightly against the backdrop of darkness.  The “prison” that binds us is actually a candle upon which a singular flame of glory shines forth unto us as we open our eyes.  But even more, the flame will somehow warm and illuminate others through the years and ages in ways that could never exist had we not penned our epistle in our prison.
“Unto the upright, there ariseth light in the darkness.
(Psalm 112:4)

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