If you could change your circumstances, would you? Most of us would respond in the affirmative. Even if we’re experiencing relatively peaceful and comfortable conditions, we can always imagine a better life. And for those of us enduring difficult, painful, or trying situations, we long to see the burden lifted.
In reality, there are some circumstances over which we have no control. We can’t maneuver our way out, so our only option is to go through them. However, if we are redeemed children of God, we are exactly where He wants us, because His sovereignty rules over all our situations at all times.
This was true for Paul despite his being imprisoned, chained, and watched by the Roman guard. After a fruitful ministry of proclaiming the gospel and founding churches throughout the Roman Empire, he found himself under house arrest. But even during these difficult circumstances, God remained in control, and His work in and through Paul hadn’t stopped.
What seemed like a very negative aspect of the apostle’s life—being chained and watched—turned out to be the means God used to deliver the gospel to the entire praetorian guard. Paul’s imprisonment also prompted other believers to boldly proclaim Christ. Some did it out of love while others acted in envy; but in both cases, the goal of spreading the gospel was accomplished.
The same sovereign God who used Paul’s circumstances for His purposes can do so with yours. But like the apostle, you’ll have to trust that the Lord will comfort and strengthen you to endure, and yes, even to rejoice.