Even hardship can be an opportunity
From NewSpring at Home: A Study on Colossians
“I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.” - Colossians 4:18
Paul takes his pen and signs the letter in his own handwriting. He finishes by telling the church to remember his chains.
It’s easy to read Paul’s writing and forget that he was in prison when he penned Colossians. His circumstances did not diminish his hope or his ability to fulfill his purpose. No amount of restraints could restrain the Gospel.
Wherever Paul went — whether to prison or to a new city — he saw opportunities. Put him in prison, and the prison becomes his mission field. Pen and paper become his pulpit. Suffering didn’t crush his spirit; it gave him new experiences of the Spirit at work (Romans 5:3-5).
The same can be true for us. We can shrink back when hardships come, or we can lean in and ask God to show us opportunities and realities we wouldn’t have experienced any other way.
- When’s the last time you experienced suffering? How did you respond?
- What’s one thing you learned about Paul’s reaction to hardship while reading this letter? How can you take that lesson into your week?
Jesus, in you I’ve found a hope greater than any circumstance. Your love for me is greater than I could ever imagine. You have given me eternal life, which means there’s nothing on earth that I need to fear. You suffered for me on the cross and are with me in my suffering on earth. What grace you’ve shown me!