Life is up and down. One day you are celebrating a job promotion, the next day you find out someone you love is in a car accident. One day you resolve a conflict with your spouse, the next day your child comes home and says they were bullied in school. Why is life like this? Up one day and down the next.
We live in a broken world and unfortunately in our Christian walk we will have good and bad days. Yet, despite the things that come against us how can we respond? What should we do?
In Acts 28: 1-10, the Bible shares the story of Paul who faces trouble, after trouble, after trouble. Yet, despite all the opposition Paul gives us guidance on how we can respond.
The Bible says Paul gets off the boat that is shipwrecked and he and the others encounter islanders. It is a cold day and they begin to build a fire. Paul helps by gathering brushwood (v 3). What we learn from Paul's actions is no matter what we are facing in life, still be a servant to God. Still pray, serve, fast, give to God, help others no matter the trouble you are facing in life. Still be a solid Christian. How can you serve God despite the pain you are feeling right now?
Then the Bible says that a viper driven by the heat fastens on his hand. By now Paul should be mad at God! "LORD, I am trying to do what is right and all I get in life is trouble!" Remember that even though you do good, trouble will still come in your life. Our Christian walk is not going to be perfect. We will face opposition and trouble until the day we depart from the earth.
When the viper attacked Paul, the islanders thought that he was being attacked because he had done wrong in his life (v 4). They assumed that he was getting what he deserved. We should remember when misfortune happens in someone's life don’t assume that they are a bad person. Unfortunately, bad things can happen to good people. This was the case for Joseph and Job in the Old Testament. Both were good men before God but faced trials in life. Joseph was used by God to save Israel and Job was being tested. Sometimes God is doing something bigger in our life that we cannot see.
Paul shook off the viper and he did not die. The islanders thought he was going to die, but he didn't (v 5). What we learn from Paul is that just like him we should remain calm in our situations and remember God's promise. Like Paul let us keep our cool and don't let the situation increase our blood pressure, cause us to worry, or have sleepless night. Let us keep our keys on Jesus. Here's why: In Acts 23: 11, Paul was given a promise by God that he needed to testify in Rome "The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome". God was not going to let Paul die in Malta because he needed to go to Rome.
The same truth applies to us. God will protect and help us in our situation to fulfill the promise or plan He has in our life.
What promises has God made in your life? What plans does God have for you? Remember this, God didn’t guarantee that the journey to the promise would be easy. There will be detours, hiccups, and challenges ahead. But God did promise you that He would get you to where you need to be. God will keep His Word.
Wherever you are in your life right now be encouraged that despite the pain, the loss, and the hardships, God is doing something and He will get you to your destination. Continue to serve Him, face the trouble, remain calm, and remember His promises.
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