God's Cure: Devotions From Time of Grace

Day 5 of 7 • This day’s reading

God’s lemonade

It’s not too hard to see the blessings of God when he sends us financial prosperity, a good job, spouse and family, nice home, and good neighbors. It’s more of a stretch to imagine that he blesses us through hardships and trouble.

Have you ever inhabited a prison cell? Worn cuffs or chains or leg irons? St. Paul did, first in Jerusalem, then Caesarea, and finally in Rome. What a disaster, right? His traveling ministry ceased, his freedom disappeared, and his ability to communicate with others was at the whim of his guards.

And yet those very limitations and frustrations became the platform that God used to make him even more useful in communicating the gospel of Christ. Many people who would never have met Paul the free man heard about their Savior from him when he was a prisoner. “It has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly” (Philippians 1:13,14).

The restrictions on Paul’s freedom of movement also compelled him to train and rely on a network of younger men who would carry on his ministry long after he was dead.

You can complain about the lemons in your life, or you could get a glass and have some of God’s lemonade.