Acts, chapter 24, verse 27 says, “When two years had elapsed Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.” I read that and I think so two years Paul is left in prison because this leader, Felix, wants to do the Jews a favor.
I think about Paul … And honestly, we don’t know this from the text, but I put myself in Paul’s shoes, and I just got to wonder if he’s thinking, “Why am I stuck here in prison? Like, I could be out preaching the gospel. I could be out planting churches. There are so many things that need to be done, things that I could be doing, that I know God would be glorified, and so why has God, in his sovereignty, allowed for me, even ordained for me, to be in prison during these couple of years?”
I just think of all the questions that I imagine Paul’s praying for release, Paul’s praying for the spread of the gospel. I mean, he wrote the church of Rome saying, “I want to come with you, help get the gospel to Spain because they haven’t heard the gospel there.” Yet those plans that Paul had are being thwarted here as he sits in prison. But in the middle of it, I imagine Paul trusting that God has a bigger plan in the middle of it all.
When we wonder “why” in the midst of challenges, we pray with trust in God and His plan.
I think about my own life. I think about your life. Obviously, I don’t know all that’s going on in your life, but I’m guessing there are times … And some of you maybe in one of those times right now … where you wonder why this or that is happening around you, why you are enduring this or that challenge, and why it doesn’t seem to end, why for years it continues even.
This text just beckons us to pray with trust in God and trust in his plan. So, God, I pray this for my own life. I pray this particularly for people who are walking through trials right now that don’t seem to have an end in sight, that don’t seem to make sense. I think of so many different circumstances that that might be. Lord, we pray then together, just we pray right now for trust in your plan. We believe you are sovereign. We believe you are in control. We believe you are wise. We confess that you are good and that you work all things together for the good of those who love you and have been called according to your purpose.
So we pray for the accomplishment of your purposes through us. Just as you are accomplishing your purposes through Paul in prison, we pray that you would accomplish your purposes in our lives. Whatever is going around us right now, whatever lies ahead for us in the next week, or month, or year, and especially, oh God, in the moments when we don’t understand why, when it doesn’t make sense to us, God, we pray for faith in those moments, for trust in those moments, to look up to you to see that you are in control, and that you are good, that you are wise, and you’re working everything together for the good of those who love you. We trust in that, oh God.
We pray that you would indeed do that. You would work all these things, even the things we don’t understand, together for the good of those who love you and have been called according to your purpose. Accomplish your purpose as we pray through us, even when we don’t understand your plan. In Jesus name, amen.