THE WORD: We are apt to think of shut-in days as lost time 

“Saint Paul Writing His Epistles” by Valentin de Boulogne (circa 1618) is a painting in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. (Public Domain)  

God’s purposes never miscarry. Paul was to go to Rome. The obstacles appeared insuperable. Even the elements seemed to be in league to prevent his reaching there.

But through all hindrances the way was opened, and at last he entered Rome and spent two years in prison.

A prison life is not an ideal one for a missionary. But Paul’s imprisonment did not limit his usefulness. Indeed, the fact that he was thus under the protection of Rome, made him safe from persecution. That was God’s way of providing for him.

We are apt to think of shut-in days as lost time. One looking at it only superficially might say, “What a pity Paul had to lose those two whole years in prison.” But perhaps no other two years of Paul’s life yielded better returns. From his prison, he preached to those who came in. Then four of his epistles were written during that time — and they have been blessing the world now for nineteen hundred years. 

J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain.