What if we looked beyond the pain of the bad stuff happening to us and saw the potential for good that God might be wanting to do through us?
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
– Galatians 6:9
I was thinking about Paul and Silas today.
Here they are on a missions trip. They’ve completely sold out to the mission of bringing the Gospel to the world, and they end up in jail?
Shouldn’t God have kept them from trouble? Shouldn’t He have protected them? I mean, they’re doing HIS work, right?
Sitting there in that damp, dark cell a lot of people would have been thinking, “well, so much for that. The minute I get out of here, I am going back home.”
Who wouldn’t wanna quit?
I’ll tell you who. Someone truly living on mission.
Despite their circumstances, they don’t stop believing. They don’t give up.
They’re not freaking out. They’re not cursing God.
In fact, they don’t even seem phased, they’re actually singing!
Openly praising God and rejoicing in the midst of their trials.
See, they trusted God.
Not just that He wouldn’t leave them there, but that He was at work.
When we trust that God’s in control, that His ways are not our ways, when we look for HIS purpose in our situation, instead of just whining, we’re in the best position to see God work in us and through us.
That’s why Paul and Silas got to see the life of the jailer, and his entire family, be changed forever.
Even though it seemed like their dreams were on hold, that their mission was sidetracked, they were exactly where God wanted them.
And, how much does God love those who are far from him? He went to extraordinary lengths to give that jailer the opportunity to follow Jesus.
God was more concerned with that guy’s heart, than comfort or convenience for Paul and Silas.
Imprisonment and persecution weren’t a detour after all! It was never even about their crisis. It was always about God moving heaven and earth to get them close to those far from God.
It may be that how we choose to act in our worst crisis will point others to Christ in a way that nothing else would.
God is at work on the other side of our mountains! Let’s make sure we stick around long enough to see it!
It’s not like Paul and Silas were glad to be locked up, but they were happy to be right where God wanted them to be.
Instead of complaining about the pain of their problems, they were praising God for the promise of what He was going to do.
They were pre-praising Him for what He hadn’t even done yet!
They were confident that God had a purpose, that He wasn’t going to waste their pain. That although it looked bleak, they were about to be blessed.
Just like in a good book or a dramatic movie, when things start looking really bad, it’s about to get real good.
Don’t you dare give up now!