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.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).