When You Aren’t Where You Want to Be or Where You Think You Should Be

Paul could have been angry.

He could have been wounded.

He could have pouted and refused to do a single thing for God until He agreed to move in mighty and obvious ways on Paul’s behalf.

Instead, Paul ended up writing letters that would become the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon in the Bible. All while he was in prison.


There the enemy was, working overtime to try to shut Paul up and to keep him from preaching and teaching about Jesus Christ, and what did Paul do? He chose to be still, to listen, to receive, to pen some of the most powerful words known to man. Words I turn to continually in my own walk with the Lord.

Words of freedom written from a place of captivity.

And Paul certainly could have been offended about his “sidelining.” He was doing great things for the Kingdom. But instead of complaining, instead of pouting as I have been known to do, he sought God right where he was. And here we are, still being blessed by his surrender and his seeking to this day.

I don’t know where you are in your life right now. Maybe you’re feeling sidelined. Maybe you’re feeling forgotten and abandoned by God. Maybe you’re nowhere near where you hope to be or where you want to be. But I want you to know this…

Wherever you are, whatever you’re going through, God can redeem it. God can use it – in your life and in the lives of others.

And He is right there with you. In the midst of what feels like the end of your dreams, His Spirit is there. His goodness is there. His peace is there. His wisdom is there. His hope is there. He is there {Psalm 139}.

I confess I laughed a little as I turned to Psalm 139 for encouragement about His unending Presence. Apparently He also wanted to offer me a little side-helping of convicting truth. Because He also tells us that He knows us. As in, He knows us knows us. Knowing every word we are going to speak before we even speak it and being well-acquainted with all of our ways (Psalm 139:1-4). So if He allows us to be sidelined, it may be for that very reason.

Because He knows us.
Because He knows the best way to reach us.
Because He knows what the stillness will work in us and then bring out of us. 

You see, Paul wasn’t being punished by God. He wasn’t forsaken by God. He was actually perfectly positioned to receive from a God who had never left his side. How crazy to think that he may have never penned those mighty words had he not been forced to be still.

He was, quite literally, a captive audience to the Holy Spirit.

And maybe, just maybe, in our places of obscurity and in our own places of hiddenness, He wants us to be a captive audience too.

May we relax in the Father’s embrace. Even if we aren’t where we want to be. Even if we aren’t where we think we should be. May we press in to Him and simply sit with Him – fixing our gaze squarely upon His face instead of straining to see how we can get to wherever it is we think we want to go.

May we ask Him for treasures in the dark places, in the hard places, in our hidden seasons. Not that we stop praying for God to move in our circumstances. It’s just that we decide we are going to seek Him right where we are until things do change. Because who knows how far the ripples of our surrender and our seeking may reach one day. What the enemy intends for evil in our lives? God can use for good. For our good and for the good of others.

So keep seeking Him, friends. And keep holding on to hope.

There is great purpose in your present position.

And these places that feel like captivity? They may hold the keys to incredible freedom… if only we would be still and listen for His voice.

Much Love,



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