The last chapters in the book of Acts are interesting. In fact, Paul, the one who traveled the known world preaching the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles, who saw countless miracles, and who wrote much of the New Testament, spends much of the end of the book of Acts imprisoned.
Think about this narrative: Paul is arrested for preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, and then is brought before the Jewish leaders. There is a plot to kill him, and then he is brought to Caesarea and is put on trial before the Roman governor. He stays in prison for two years, and then a new governor comes and leaves Paul in prison. He is then brought to the King and is finally released, only to sail for Rome and be shipwrecked.
We can probably relate to Paul more than we think we can here. No, we’ve never experienced first century prison, but some of us have worked hard toward something only to experience failure. Some of us have walked through hard seasons and wondered if it will ever get better. When we follow Jesus, we can sometimes end up wondering why we are where we are and where He is in all of it.
We can look at Paul’s story from another perspective, though. The people who were trying to stop him from sharing the message of Jesus now had him on trial and were asking him about it. His shipwreck led to people on the island being healed. All of his trials led him to Rome, where “boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31).
When you look at your pain with a difference perspective, it can give it purpose. When we read the New Testament, we see a lot of people who follow Jesus and walk through a lot of pain as a result, and yet God is moving in the background.
In Romans, Paul writes “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). If you’re walking through pain or challenges, God may just be trying to change your perspective.
At River Valley, we believe that the word of God applies to your life today. We encourage you to engage with God’s word daily through our SOAP reading plan. You can find the plan on the River Valley Church App or by clicking here.