On a map in the back of my Bible, each of Paul’s missionary journeys is shown by a colored line with arrows indicating his direction of travel. On the first three, the arrows lead away from his place of departure and back to a point of return. On the fourth journey, however, Paul was traveling as a prisoner, bound for trial before Caesar, and the arrows point only one direction, ending in Rome.
We might be tempted to call this an unfortunate time in Paul’s life, if it were not for his view that God was leading and using him just as much on this journey as He did on the previous three.
He wrote: “I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear” (Phil. 1:12-14).
Even when our journey in life is marked by confinement and limitations, we can be sure that the Lord will encourage others through us as we speak His Word and trust in Him.