For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. Philippians 1:29-30
Paul was a man with amazing perspective and peace in the midst of persecution. Chained to a praetorian guard in Rome, the apostle updated his status to the church at Philippi, which he founded ten years earlier, in an encouraging letter. From then until now, the Philippians had participated in the gospel and partaken of its grace. Yet they undoubtedly worried that Paul was out of commission. Nothing could be further from the truth. Woe to the poor guard who had to listen to this man preach while on duty! Who had the captive audience? The gospel of Jesus was not chained.
Here’s a man on the horns of a dilemma. Which way does he choose, to go on to be with the Lord, and that would be much better, or to stay earthbound? Somehow he knew that it was the latter, and it would mean “fruitful labor” for him. Paul wanted the Philippians to know that, in his imprisonment, the Lord had orchestrated a tremendous opportunity to fulfill his stated mission to the Gentiles. Almost as an afterthought, he noted that it would require suffering. That’s the way God planned it for him (Acts 9:16) and for all of us (Acts 14:22).
In every circumstance of life, dire or otherwise, we can have peace in knowing that the sovereign God knows what he’s doing. Paul was confident and convinced of this. He was in the know.