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Thursday, 18 July 2019

Acts 16 : 16-40

“And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely.” -Acts 16:23

One of the most difficult questions that man has been dabbling with over the centuries is, “Why Suffering?”  No one has ever arrived at an answer using human reasoning or logic. But the conclusion of every Child of God is that, God works out his perfect plan even in these deep sufferings that greatly transforms the sufferer bringing ultimate glory to God!


In today’s reading we see how God works even in the pain and adversity of his servants to meet the needs of those around them. 


It begins with the need of deliverance of the slave girl (Acts 16:24). No one heard her silent cry wanting to be delivered from this torment, her loneliness and her fear. She was a toy in the hand of her masters who made a great fortune out of her work. But the God who created her, loved her and wanted to rescue her from the devil’s hold. Paul and Silas being there was no coincidence but the plan of God.


Through the centuries we see men and women compelled by the love of God, rescue men and women from the injustices of this world. Many had to face hardships and hostility when they opposed these wicked practices- be it William Wilberforce who stood against slavery in England  or Amy Carmichael rescuing new born baby girls in South India  before they were sold into temple prostitution or Christine Cain who saves women from sex traders in Europe in this present day. God has and is using his people who work under great risk of their own lives. When Paul and Silas delivered the girl, they didn’t receive an applaud, on the contrary they were beaten and thrown into jail (Acts 16:23). Was this suffering wasted?


No! God knew that in that dungeon was His child who needed to hear the message of salvation. What better way than to send His servants to the most unlikely place with this message!!  So their suffering was not in vain. Our Master Jesus himself left His heavenly Kingdom and walked into this dungeon called earth just to save sinners like you and me, for which He had to pay a gruesome price with His own life.


He now sends us who believe in His Name, to the most unthinkable places because He’s seen some of His children who haven’t yet heard “The Message” that could save them.


In historical accounts, we read of men/women who’ve heard this call and gone to the unreached no matter what lay ahead of them even if it meant death. Nothing was achieved without pain and suffering. Like the Master, so are the servants!


So did this task end with Paul? No! After his release the first stop he made was to visit the brothers in Philippi (Acts 16:40) to encourage them. They, seeing all that was meted out to Paul, must have been distraught. Many must have been on the brink of turning away from their faith because the cost was too heavy.  But this time spent with Paul and the letter written to them [The Epistle to the Philippians]   emboldened them to understand that suffering and pain was an intrinsic part of Christian life; in it God gives the grace and power to overcome every trial to fulfill their purpose and mission in His Kingdom.


This truth is also for each of us who have decided to follow Jesus. We can never avoid suffering, rather may we always remember that through our suffering, God is working something in us and through us for His Glory and the extension of His Kingdom.

 


Quote for the Day:

“…rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings,

that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

1 Peter 4: 13


Listen- The Purpose in The pain

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