By David Coy
Dr. Sam Sheppard was convicted of the murder of his wife. What would it be like to be incarcerated for something you believed was an unjust conviction? I cannot imagine what it must be like for just or unjust circumstances to be incarcerated for a lengthy period of time. Would a portion of me die inside? The drastic change in our thinking processes and our routine manner of living would be so traumatic. I do not know what it must be like for the surviving family members of unsolved homicide either. Both must be extremely horrific to endure life from day unto day. It might be similar to a soldier’s family having to endure life not knowing the circumstances involved in their MIA.
The apostle Paul knew what it was like to endure pain and suffering. He spoke of five times he received floggings, 39 lashings each time. He was beaten with rods three times; once he received a stoning, and three times he was shipwrecked. He was in danger of bandits, from the river, from his own countrymen, from false teachers, and more (2 Corinthians 11:23-30). Among all he endured in his lifetime, this week we highlight his unjust imprisonment. He speaks concerning the positive benefits in Philippians chapter one. Positive benefits? He first emphasizes the importance of Perspective in verses 12 -14. Life does not always develop or unfold fairly. Even so, there is always a brighter side and a bigger picture to see if we will but look. He says it often depends upon our priority in life (verses 15-18). He then mentions one key ingredient – prayer – in verses 19-20. We all need strength, and we receive it through precept and prayer. Lastly, he emphasizes the import of purpose and preference moving forward in verses 21-22. Joy In Spite of No Matter What. See you in Support group.