Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Suffering of Silas and Paul...and me and you.

Acts 16:16-24...Paul gets annoyed by a little girl. It's almost comical. She has some type of spirit of divination. She keeps saying "These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation." Over and over, day after day. The same phrase. So Paul casts the spirit out of her.

This causes her owners to take a financial hit.

So they accuse Paul and Silas and the tandem are stripped, beaten severely with rods and thrown into prison and shackled.

Falsely accused, unfairly condemned, brutally punished.

And then verse 25.

"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them."

Falsely accused...But they continue to pray and sing.

Unfairly condemned, but they make much of Him even still.

Brutally punished, but they praise rather than lament. They choose worship...not because of their circumstances but in spite of their circumstances.

Many go through a hardship and ask questions. Why me? Where are you God? Why aren't you showing up?

But Paul and Silas chose God's glory in the midst of suffering.

Why not us? God is near. God is close in times of hardship.

And the prisoners listened.

What if suffering is an opportunity to show Jesus is enough to satisfy my soul?

What if hardship is the best way to worship?

What if making much of Him instead of making much of our suffering is what will bring the watching world to its knees?

May we worship today...not because of duty but because we're grateful...our God has won the day!

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