Part of the Scripture for the Sunday School lesson came from I Timothy 1, which I've read many times. But as a friend read the verses aloud, God emphasized verses 16 and 17 to me. I'd almost swear those verses have never been there before!
The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me, and found me... (NASB)
As I re-read those verses several times, my heart was crying a resounding Yes! I wish there were more people like Onesiphorus. Think of it: he searched for Paul, found him, wasn't ashamed of his chains, and often refreshed him. Isn't that being Jesus' hands and feet? Isn't that grace?
When I was in chains of my own making, there were two such people in my life. They called to check on me and encourage me, and they weren't ashamed to be my friends. Essentially, they helped sustain and refresh my life.
One of my deepest desires is to be like those friends...like Onesiphorus. I've felt the chains...and I've felt freedom from them. How could I possibly be ashamed of anyone else's?
May each of us seek and find those in chains and often refresh them with encouragement and prayer! May we never be ashamed of the chains, for without them, some of us never experience true freedom.