Read Philippians 1:12-14
12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. (NLT)
There is a town in southern USA which has a statue of a boll weevil in its town square. This nasty pest destroyed the local cotton crop years before. So why the statue? Because the farmers recognised that they needed to diversify and so started planting peanut crops. In time, these proved much more profitable than cotton and hence the statue. A setback became an advance.
This is what happened to Paul as he was under house arrest in Rome. It wasn’t ideal; it was a setback and an injustice as well. But he didn’t dwell on that. He noted that because of his adversity many who might not have heard about Jesus got to hear about him. And because of his absence from daily ministry, others had stepped forward to fill the gap.
We can’t avoid setbacks and hardships. We can adopt a right perspective on them. Much will depend on temperament. Some reckon every cloud has a silver lining whereas others feel every silver lining has a cloud. Winston Churchill summed it up well. “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty”.