It is amazing that what we consider a failure is often God’s idea of success. For Paul, this was a common reality, and so Paul learned to see events through God’s eyes instead of his own. Beatings became a way for him to better identify with Jesus’ suffering. Shipwrecks became ways that God could show His power and grace through Paul. And trials became opportunities to reach powerful people he would otherwise not have been able to reach.
Did you notice between yesterday and today how many people of power Paul reached because of his chains? We would consider this a failure, a problem to be solved, and possibly a sign that God had abandoned us. But for Paul, he knew that God works through just such things and so he watched and prayed. And because of his arrest, he was able to witness before Ananias the high priest, Tertullus a lawyer of high repute, Felix the governor of the region, Lysias the commander, Drusilla, Felix’ wife who was Jewish, Porcius Festus Felix’ successor, Festus, King Agrippa and his wife Bernice his wife, and ultimately Caesar himself. It’s like someone today being arrested and called to stand before the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the president himself.
When bad things happen, do you see it as a failure because it is hard on you, or do you see it as an opportunity for God to work for, in, and through you?