Joy in a Time of House Arrest

I have started a new personal Bible study this week, deciding to look again at St Paul’s wonderful letter to the Philippian church.  It so happens that he wrote this letter while he was under house arrest awaiting trial. I thought this was  a neat coincidence, since I am under ‘lockdown’ right now, along with millions of others.
The dominant note in Philippians is joy – joy in the Lord, despite the circumstances. I need this encouragement this week, because it is frustrating to be restricted and surrounded by fear and threats. I read the other day that Lifeline had the biggest number of distressed phone callers in one day since they started 60 years ago. It is hard to be separated from human company, work, fellowship, and peaceful circumstances.
What made Paul joyful? Not his situation but his Lord, and the blessings of Jesus Christ. He starts by sharing his appreciation and prayers for his friends. This is the pointer that I need this week – turn to prayer and find joy in the Lord and his blessings. Let us take our mind off our fears (turning off the news will help), and turn our thoughts to prayers of thanksgiving and intercession.
Ralph G. Bowles
5 August 2021