Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who
are in Ephesus, and care faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and
peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
Christ. Ephesians 1.1-2
Several years ago I was in Panama working with a group of students at a special needs orphanage. The founder and leader of this orphanage was a man from North Carolina named Matt. I can remember working alongside Matt and thinking, “He has it all. He is in fulltime ministry; he is feeding and clothing orphans, and he is doing it all in a tropical paradise.” One day during a lunch break, I had the opportunity to chat with Matt and I was
taken aback as he shared about the many difficulties and frustrations he had while living and serving in Panama. I learned it had taken him many years to be okay with staying and serving there. At the end of our conversation Matt simply said, “These days I am at peace about being here because I know it is the Lord’s will.” As I walked away I thought to myself, “Matt sounds an awful lot like Paul.”
When the apostle Paul was writing to the Ephesians he was most likely in the midst of his first Roman imprisonment—chances are he was in a cell or under some type of house arrest. Whatever his living conditions were, this could not have been his first choice. Even though he was in custody, Paul seems to be at such peace throughout the entire letter as he never even asks for prayers of deliverance. Even though I am sure there were many factors to Paul’s peace, one of those factors must have been his confidence that he was a part of God’s bigger plan. Just look at how Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians, “Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” (Eph 1.1) Paul understands that God has sovereignly chosen, called and led him according to His will. As long as Paul keeps his eyes fixed on Christ he will remain in the center of that will. Even while in prison Paul knows that God is working out His will through him, and from that knowledge there is an unbelievable peace.
Whatever our current situation is, no matter how difficult things seem or how frustrated we are with our circumstances, we can know for certain that as we obediently surrender and seek His Kingdom God is faithful to both reveal His will to us and begin working that will through us. There is not a more restful and satisfying place to be—in the words of
Corrie ten Boom, “There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!”
- How have you been responding to your current situation or circumstances? In what ways can you see God’s hand in your life even through the hardship?
- This winter season and even last may have looked very different for many of us. Has it made you doubt where God has you living and serving? If so, take some time today to obediently surrender and seek the Lord.
By Ryley Heppner | Christina Lake, British Columbia