“If you find yourself in jail, write a book.”
– Kevin Conner, international Bible teacher, teaching a “Leader Lectures” seminar at VCF Fort
This is my favorite quote of the week – maybe I found it so humorous because I love to write, but there is a vital lesson behind it as well.
He was referring to the Apostle Paul, who was in jail several times and spent time in house arrest in Rome. Paul wrote some of his epistles or letters to the churches while he was in jail. Sometimes the way of escape from a bad situation led to a stint in prison. I am not sure of the conditions he experienced in jail, but his life mission was not deterred, maybe even enhanced during those times. In one instance, Paul and Silas were praising God while in prison when the chains fell off and the doors opened. The result was the salvation of the prison guard and his family. In other situations, Paul remained behind bars or in house arrest. During those times, he wrote portions of the Bible and testified about Jesus Christ.
This is what stands out to me when I consider the different outcomes of his experiences in jail: the result was that God was glorified whether he stayed longer or was released. This was a man who measured life by giving glory to God and revealing Jesus Christ. He had a serious epiphany, a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. He went from being a man who resolutely lived to persecute Christians, to becoming a man who passionately desired for others to know Jesus Christ.
In the western world especially, it is common for people to think that if they follow Jesus Christ they will get whatever they want in life and have abundant material blessings. One problem with this view is that when they encounter difficulties, they think God has abandoned them. God blesses our lives first of all with a life of walking with Him and He works in us for the purpose of revealing Himself through our lives. Yes, we are blessed in the process, but not always in the ways we expect. He promises to be with us during the difficult times, but we often have to walk through them and grow in our relationship with Him. The treasure is Jesus Christ Himself. Paul was a brilliant man who knew where his treasure was found.
In whatever circumstances you find yourself, look at the bright side. You can live for the glory of God and use whatever opportunities He has given you to reveal Jesus Christ to those around you.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28