A newspaper cartoon depicts two men tied to a post and surrounded by enemies. One says to the other, “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh.” While the apostle Paul doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who’d crack a joke or offer a sarcastic quip in a tight situation, he does share this ability to look positively at a crisis situation.
In the middle portion of Ephesians, Paul refers to himself as a prisoner for the Lord (chapters 3, 4 and 6). Some scholars believe Ephesians is a pseudonymous letter, but whether or not Paul actually wrote Ephesians, he did suffer in prison during his ministry, and he wrote Philemon and Philippians while in prison. In these letters we see Paul taking himself, his readers and his congregations from despair to hope, from sorrow to joy, and from suffering to gratitude.