Roger’s Reflections 6

By Roger Carswell

Lockdown is such an unusual experience for us.  I have never been imprisoned; standing outside my classroom in the corridor at school for 20 minutes is the most public punishment I have experienced.  Yet imprisonment/lockdown is something that God’s people have known through the centuries.  Think of Joseph and Jeremiah, of the Lord Jesus Himself, of Paul and Silas, then through the ages of think John Bunyan, Samuel Rutherford or Corrie Ten Boom, Richard Wurmbrand or believers in North Korea or Eritrea today.  

Algerius was an Italian martyred for his faith in 1557.  Incarcerated in a prison cell before his execution, he wrote, ‘Who would have thought that in this dungeon I should find a paradise so pleasant.  In a place of sorrow and death – tranquillity, hope and life.  Where others weep, I rejoice!’

From the example of Paul – a pattern believer – we learn that he did at least eight things when locked in 

1. He cared for his physical needs (2 Tim 4:13).  It is surely right to ensure a good meal and exercise each day, without becoming gluttonous or lazy!


2. He read (2 Tim 4:13b).  Even when approaching death, he kept learning by reading.


3. He had an attitude of gratitude (Phil. 4:6) – thankfulness is found in each of his epistles.  “God keep me from becoming a grumpy old man” was George Müller’s prayer.


4. He sang (Acts 16:25).  To sing from our hymn book helps to turn ourhearts to the Lord.


5. He prayed … and not for his physical safety or even to get out of jail, but for the advance of the gospel (Col. 4:2). He prayed that the gospel would not be in lockdown!


6. He evangelised (Phil 1:12).  He spoke to the guards, and we know that through him the gospel permeated even Caesar’s palace.


7. He wrote letters – naturally he wanted to preach, but being locked down forced him to write, and how grateful we are that he did. (Rom 8:28)


8. He learned to be content (Phil 4:11).  In prison he was a testimony to others, to Satan (who failed in discouraging him) and to the Lord whose servant he was.


Wherever we are, the Lord promises to be with us, but may we too redeem the time, grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and glorify God during this period of lockdown.