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Finding Purpose in Prison

By Chris Rathbone

Mitchell Countychris rathbone mitchell county

It is pretty well given in this life that not everything we have planned will turn out the way we hoped it would. While sometimes things turn out the way we thought, life, more often than not, will throw things our way that upends plans and dreams we thought would be a certain way. Sudden health issues can occur, an unforeseen change in employment, a family crisis, a company shuts down, the economy takes a turn for the worse, other people make a choice that affects our plans, etc, etc. This list could be a long one for sure. We all could add our own experiences that are perfect examples of how life can turn on a dime and all that we thought was going to happen suddenly, completely changes. If you have lived long at all, you know this takes place over and over in life.

Well, there are a couple of ways that we can react to these challenges when they happen. Many times we can get discouraged and simply give up on what we had planned. When plans we make fall through and don’t work out, sometimes we get upset, even angry and bitter, even to the point of blaming God. We will often question why and many will allow setbacks to completely change their attitude about life. It’s almost like we use these times as a reason to just give up and never strive to achieve greater things in the future. I believe there’s another way we should look at circumstances that change our plans completely.

What should we do when we’ve made plans, dreamed dreams, had visions of what we hoped would be and all of a sudden something happens that changes everything? Unforeseen circumstances come up and all we hoped for just goes down the drain so to speak. Well, instead of giving up, getting angry or bitter, or even blaming God and asking Him why, perhaps we should be asking what God wants us to do now! Now that what we planned has fallen through, “Lord, what is it You want me to do in these circumstances?” The Apostle Paul preached the gospel in Jerusalem. He was arrested and put in jail because of the Jewish leaders who did not want him preaching the gospel. Paul ended up being taken to Rome and was held there awaiting his case to be heard. For sure, I imagine Paul’s plan and vision for his gospel ministry was not to be arrested and placed in a Roman prison. Paul’s reaction to these unforeseen circumstances could have been to simply give up on the ministry or even blame God and become bitter. However, this is what Paul wrote in the letter to the Philippians: “But I would ye should understand brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel: So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace and all other places. And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14

What did Paul do when circumstances changed all his plans? He looked for what God wanted him to do in these new circumstances! Paul understood that just because his plans were changed that did not change God’s plan. God’s plan for Paul was to spread the gospel wherever that may be. He seems to say, “Well, this actually worked out better than my plans. The gospel is being advanced regardless!” (my take of course) Christian listen! Just because we come to places in our lives where things don’t turn out like we thought they would, that doesn’t mean that God’s plan is hindered! Perhaps the question we should ask when this happens is not why but what! God, WHAT is it that you want me to do? God, WHAT are wanting to do now? God, help me to see WHAT your plan and purpose are even though my plans have fallen through. When our life circumstances change, when life doesn’t go as planned, when the dreams we have or the plans we made fall through, let us not give up but search for how God is going to use these times for His glory and purpose. Let us find purpose in our prison…. In Christ, Preacher Chris


Preacher Chris Rathbone is the former Pastor at Mine Creek Baptist Church and is now serving the Lord as needed while preaching the Gospel. You can read more Good Christian News from Pastor Chris HERE.

You can connect with Preacher Chris on Facebook HERE.