Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to Handle a Bad Day 7/23/13 (rp)

The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;" Acts 16:22-25

Beloved, have you ever had a bad day? Think a moment about your worst day ever. Was it a situation that was completely outside of your control? Did it involve something you did? Was it public or private? Though it is important to understand the who, what, when and whys of negative things that happen in our lives, it is by far more important how we respond to such events.

Paul and Silas had what some would interpret as a very bad day as a result of doing the will of God. Their work was very unpopular with some people who reported them to the local authorities who in turn had them publicly beaten and thrown into jail without the benefit of any due process whatsoever. Anything remotely similar to this would be an extremely challenging situation for just about all of us. There is, however, more than one way to both look at and respond to "bad days," particularly as a child of God.

After having a similar day Peter in Acts 5:41 rejoiced that he was "counted worthy to suffer shame for his [Jesus'] name." To him, and his associates, it was not a bad day at all, but a good day of both obedience to the will of the Lord and the opportunity to share the gospel with all who heard it. This brings us back to Paul and Silas. Despite being in pain, prison and shackles, they did not bemoan their circumstance, but sang praises to the Father.

It may be counter intuitive to do such a thing, but not for the person of faith. As Christians we must grow into Job's faith who said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him" Job 13:15. We must believe that according to Rom 8:28, "all things work together for good for them that love God and are the called according to His purpose." And we must remember that, "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" Rom 8:18.

As an epilogue to this passage, note that the other prisoners were listening to the singing. What a tremendous testimony! If they could continue to praise God under even the worst conditions, that could cause even the most avowed unbeliever to develop questions. Further, we know that the jailer and his family came to Christ as a result.

No, we may not look forward to or enjoy "bad days" but we trust God through them and praise Him for every one in which we draw breath.

Let us comfort one another with these thoughts.



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