Thursday, January 24, 2013

Handling Adversity 1/24/13 (rp)

"And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks." Acts 16:23-24

Paul and Silas find themselves in one of the worst situations that we can imagine. Two questions that come to mind are, "How did this happen to them" and "How did they handle it?"

The answer to the first question, simply put, is that they were doing the work of the Lord. During Paul's second missionary journey, he freed a woman of the spirit that possessed her. In that she was a bit of a fortune teller and a source of income for her "handlers," they dragged Paul and Silas into the market place, reported them to the local authorities, libeled them and had them beaten and thrown into prison. Even in prison, they were put in the innermost cell and shackled.

How did they handle it? "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto god: and the prisoners heard them," Acts 16:25.

Beloved, in this life, we have many things about which we can complain if we so choose. They can range from the mundane inconveniences of having to cut grass to the concerns of serious health issues. The reality of living is that bad things happen, even to good people. The measure of a person, however, is how these things are handled. For the Christian, our faith is in the Lord through whom we can do all things (Phi 4:13). We are to "count it all joy when we enter in to various trials," (James 1:2). We remember that our salvation is tied to endurance (Matt 24:13). Lastly, we acknowledge that Christ suffered for our souls.

Knowing these things, it becomes clear that we should praise God in every circumstance imaginable! There is no place we can go that we are not in His sight. There is nothing that can happen that He does not know about. He alone has truthfully said that He would never leave us nor forsake us. For this reason, we can have confidence that everything is going to work out fine. God Himself caused Paul and Silas to be freed. Based on their faith and their public praise of God, the same jailer who was charged with locking them up obeyed the gospel and he and his family received salvation.

Sometimes, the way we handle adversity, particularly while actually doing the work of the Lord, can mean life to others.



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