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Prison Cells

I felt my anxiety rising as I hung up the phone. Had I really just quit my job to become a stay-at-home mom, again? I had just got this new position that I was sure would enable me to reach so many for Jesus and now the tide had turned, and I was being called back home. It felt like the walls were closing in on me. This feeling of being restricted by a season of life was familiar. From my early years as a “sheltered” pastor’s daughter to being isolated at home raising a family while suffering from post-partum depression, I can easily recall the parts of my life that felt more like a prison cell than a garden of freedom.

In Acts 23 we read of the Sanhedrin’s attempt to silence Paul permanently. But, as we see in verses, 23-24, and 35b, God had other plans.

“Then the commander called two of his officers and ordered, ‘Get 200 soldiers ready to leave for Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight. Also take 200 spearmen and 70 mounted troops. Provide horses for Paul to ride, and get him safely to Governor Felix.’ Then the governor ordered him kept in the prison at Herod’s headquarters.”

Here we see that if God isn't finished with our story no one can shut us down. But sometimes, in order to get us to the destination where God wants us, He will circumvent our situation by using an army and a prison for our protection. Most of us haven't been to jail, but our life situations can feel just as confining. We feel restricted by people, illness, jobs, even our kids. For me, I felt limited knowing I wouldn’t be starting a booming ministry, but instead be home with one individual in my care.

In scripture, I find that for many of its heroes the safest place for them to be, was not center stage but in the fire, in the prison, or in the lions’ den. Why? Because that’s where God was. I don’t know about you, but I want to be where God is, even if it doesn’t make sense at the time.

If we take a second look at the things around us that feel like they’re boxing us in, we will be surprised by the situations we have loathed that God actually sent to shelter us. In retrospect I can see that my parent’s sheltering was God’s protection, and so many seasons that felt like waiting were actually training ground for the next chapter of my life. And while back at home homeschooling my youngest, God has given me time to sharpen my skills as a writer, awakening my soul in the stillness to new adventures with Him, all while simultaneously honing my patience as a mother—all to prepare me for my ministry and the people God intended me to minister to.

My heart is encouraged that God doesn’t see our circumstances as limiting because He is limitless, working in an infinite way that enables all things to work out for good. As He did for Paul, God can use an army of foreign soldiers and a jail. I am not sure what part of your life feels confining to you. Maybe it’s the bills, the job, the spouse, or the pain that never seems to end. In faith, I encourage you to trust God’s timing and plan. Maybe that militia around you is not to hold you back but to take you where God needs you to be. He is never late and always faithful. That’s something we can depend on, even in the inevitable prisons of waiting that life brings.

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