Is there a purpose for our trials?
While making their way to the place of prayer, Paul and Silas meet a young demon-possessed slave girl. She made her master’s rich by her fortune-telling abilities. She would yell out,”These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved” (Acts 16:17). You would think Paul would appreciate the “advertising”. Because what she was saying was true. But how can the source of the Good News come from such an evil source. What message does this send about Christ? Truth and evil do not mix. She did this day after day until Paul became so annoyed by repeating the same thing over and over that he commanded the demon to come out of her (Acts 16: 18). Instantly the evil spirit fled from her body and the slave girl was free.
The slave girl’s freedom did not make her master’s happy. Without her fortune-telling abilities what use was she to them? She could no longer make them wealthy. They dragged Paul and Silas before the authorities and were stripped and beaten with rods and thrown in prison for a crime they did not commit (Acts 16: 19-24).
While in prison, Paul and Silas were praying and singing to God. The other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, a massive earthquake shakes the prison from its foundation and the doors flew open and the chains fell off (Acts 16:25). The jailer wakes up and sees the prison door is opened. Assuming the prisoner’s have escaped he draws his sword when he hears Paul say, Stop! We are all here! (Acts 16:27-28). The jailer was responsible for the prisoners. If any escaped he would be put to death. So Paul tells him there is no need for him to kill himself because no one has escaped. How do Paul and Silas get the other prisoners to stay? They are free. The doors are open the chains have fallen off. There is nothing keeping them from escaping. But yet they stay. They are free. No one leaves. The jailer is saved (Acts 16:29-34).
The next morning, officials sent word to the jailer to release Paul and Silas from prison. But Paul was not satisfied. He wanted the officials to come to the jail and apologize in person. After all he and Silas were Roman citizens. They were released from prison and returned to the home of Lydia and talked and encouraged one another and more of the church began to develop (Acts 16:35-40).
God used Paul’s trials and tribulations to spread the gospel. When you stand for Jesus Christ there will be people against you. Often, when something is happening to you, God is doing a work IN you. We must use any opportunity to share our faith no matter the circumstances.
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Have you been going through trials? Can you see how God could be using your trials to teach you something? Share with us what you’ve learned? Come share with us on our blog. We’d love to hear from you! ~ Tonya