“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (v12). Paul’s imprisonment – while not his own plan – was used by God to spread the gospel and to encourage other believers (v12-13). For Paul, “to live is Christ and to die is gain;” therefore, he could see God’s hand in all circumstances. The choice was between “fruitful labor” on earth or the “far better” joy of eternity in Christ’s presence (v21-23).
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment …” (v9-10). As we grow in Christ’s love, we gain His perspective on our past, present, and future.