The book of Acts certainly ends with a bang! The ship that was carrying Paul as a prisoner to Rome dramatically wrecks. (After Paul told them that it would weeks earlier.) The crew and prisoners onboard have to swim to a nearby island where Paul is bitten by a poisonous snake. God heals the father of the leader there and then all of the sick people on the island through Paul.
When Paul finally arrives in Rome, he is put under house arrest, but is still able to witness to the religious leaders of the city, and to many others who came to him there. To top it off, being on house arrest gave Paul the time to write what we call, “the prison epistles”; Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.
Many times, we will go through situations that we would never choose for ourselves. Certainly, Paul would not have chosen to be a prisoner, be shipwrecked, be bitten by a venomous snake, winter on an isolated island or live under house arrest. However, part of God’s plan for us is that we would reach people whom we would not normally meet in our typical day-to-day activities, for Him. In order to do this, we will often find ourselves outside of the places that we would ordinarily choose.
In the midst of circumstances that are outside of our comfort zones, and maybe even downright difficult, we will be tempted to cry out to the Lord: “God, why is this happening to me?” It’s a perfectly valid question.
Sometimes our challenging situations are, as James 1:3 says, a testing of our faith meant to build something up in us. However, sometimes our trials aren’t about us as much as they are about the places that God orchestrates us to be in to reach people for Him.
If we want to manage our challenging circumstances more effectively, we would do well to stop focusing on our own misery and, instead, start looking for God.
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Reading Plan–Week Twenty-Four
Day One–Acts 27
Day Two–Acts 28
Day Three–Romans 1
Day Four–Romans 2
Day Five–Romans 3