Starring James Faulkner as the Apostle Paul and Jim Caviezel (who famously portrayed Jesus in the 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ”) as Luke, the author of the eponymous New Testament Gospel, it recounts the sufferings of Paul as he endured imprisonment in Rome prior to this execution under the Roman Emperor Nero.
I will not divulge the particulars, and thereby spoil the plot. But I will tell you that it has a rather surprising ending. If you have not seen it, please take the time to watch it.
That being said, I want to reference a remarkable statement once made by the Apostle Paul in one of his New Testament epistles. In his First Letter to the Thessalonians (chapter 5, verses 16-18), he makes the following statements:
“16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
How can a man who is facing his own death in a Roman prison make such a statement as “give thanks in all circumstances”? Perhaps a story by Corrie ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place, gives us a clue.
In it, she relates an incident that taught her always to be thankful. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. On entering the barracks, they found them extremely over-crowded and flea infested.
That morning, their Scripture reading in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters.
At first, Corrie flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas. But Betsy persisted; and Corrie finally succumbed to her pleadings. During the months spent at the camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference.
It was not until several months later that they learned the reason the guards would not enter the barracks was because of the fleas!
And there you have it - proof positive that, while we may not always understand the ways of God, we must learn to accept them, and then to give Him thanks in all of our circumstances.
For, as the Prophet Isaiah affirms (in chapter 55, verse 8):
8“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
In light of this, no matter what your present circumstances, I hope you take time tomorrow to give God thanks! And I wish you a happy Thanksgiving as you do!
NOTE: The Hiding Place was later made into a movie. Cf.: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073109/.