Paul wrote many of his epistles to the churches while locked up in a cramped prison cell — bound, despised, cut off from believers and seemingly from all ministry. Talk about painful conditions. Yet Paul never spoke of being a prisoner of his circumstances; instead, he called himself “a prisoner of Christ” (see Ephesians 3:1).
In his epistle to the Colossians, Paul stated his desire for all saints who suffer: “That you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:9–11).
Amazingly, Paul’s words of hope and exhortation were a product of his longest imprisonment, probably in Caesarea. When Paul penned these words he had no hope of being released. As far as he knew, he would be there for years, possibly for the rest of his days. It is clear that he had made peace with his painful circumstances.
Nowhere in this letter do we find Paul questioning the Lord. The apostle had entered into a full spiritual understanding of God’s will and embraced his circumstances as the Lord’s will for his life at that moment. Therefore, Paul wrote triumphantly to the Colossians, “Oh, that you would come into this full spiritual understanding of God’s will for you.”
Can you imagine? Here was Paul in utter captivity, lacking freedom of any kind. Yet he spoke of “walking worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing to Him, being fruitful in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of the Lord.”