Good from Bad
Today's reading: Acts 16:16-40
Paul is certainly no stranger to persecution—adamantly ordering its doling out before encountering Christ, and now experiencing it first hand as a proclaimer and follower of Christ. In this particular instance, Paul and Silas are stripped of their clothing, beaten severely with rods and then thrown in prison where they were placed in the inner part of the jail with their feet in stocks.
Now before you read on, take a minute to imagine and think about the seriousness of this situation. Paul and Silas' physical condition is bad. But emotionally and spiritually, it's a completely different picture because they know that God is in control, even in this unfair and painful circumstance. So instead of hanging their heads in dejection and fearing for their lives, what are Paul and Silas doing? They're publically, and with confidence, praying to God and singing hymns, and in so doing, being a witness to all who are in prison with them. And their bold witness continues when, after the earthquake, Paul, Silas and all the prisoners willingly remain after the prison doors are flung wide open, and Paul and Silas then present the message of salvation through Jesus to the jailer and all in his household.
What a wonderful reminder of God's sovereignty, and the fact that He can and does work in and through all situations. What the Roman slave owners meant for evil, God used for good and His glory!
What encouragement did you draw from this account? How did it impact your perspective on encountering painful and unpleasant situations? How have you experienced God using a difficult situation for good? Tami
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