Responding to Suffering

Holtonumc   -  

How do you respond to suffering? In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were unjustly accused of something they didn’t do, and then were beaten and thrown in prison without a fair trial. However, rather than get aggravated and angry, they were praying and singing hymns, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

This reminds me that people (including unbelievers) are watching our responses to challenging circumstances, to see how we react. How we respond to these challenges can become a witness or catalyst to unbelievers around us being drawn toward God.  After an earthquake rocked the jail and all the prisoners were able to leave (which they didn’t), why did the jailer ask Paul, “what must I do to be saved?” Perhaps it was because he too had been listening to and heard Paul and Silas’ praying and singing.

This also reminds me of the power of prayer. It was their praying and singing which led God to bring the earthquake.  And interestingly, when the earthquake happened Paul and Silas didn’t interpret it as an opportunity to flee the jail, but as a witness to the jailer by remaining when they could have fled (causing the jailor to lose his life for failing to the secure the prisoners). Their not seeking to save their own skin led to the jailer and his family’s salvation (and probably many others through his testimony).

Could our suffering be an opportunity that God will use later as a witness to someone else of the power of God, and lead them to take steps toward God and even salvation?