by Trevor Peacock
We are through our first two weeks of a five weeks series in our study of the second missionary journey in the book of Acts. This last week we witnessed how Paul and Silas handled incredible difficulties. They had been faithfully serving the Lord when they were put before the magistrates on a mock trial and beaten with rods and tossed into prison on false charges.
Our normal tendency would be to complain about our fate. We would question the fairness of how we have been treated. We did nothing wrong! Why is this happening to us? To sum it up, our focus would be on ourselves. This is not the focus of Paul and Silas. They model to us what needs to be done when the trials of life come our way.
They display three responses that should be followed by all believers when trials come their way.
When we come to Acts 16:25 we find that Paul and Silas are praying. This is the first thing that we ought to do when trials come. We need to cast our anxieties on the Lord knowing that He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) We need to put our trust in the Lord and be reminded that whatever we are encountering in our life is not a surprise to God. He is asking us to put our trust in Him. When you enter a time of trial…pray.
Not only do we see them praying as they sat in the dark prison, we also see them praising God.
Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…
As we get our eyes on the Lord in prayer, it will result in praise. When we begin to get our eyes off of our trial and onto the King of Kings and Lord of Lords the size of our trials begin to look different in light of His strength, might and power. We remember that He is God and we are not. We see this modeled over and over again in the Psalms. Many times we will see the writer of the Psalm begin with questions as he seeks the Lord and by the time the writer is done he is praising the Lord. This will be the case with you as well if you spend time meditating on the One you are seeking in prayer. He is a great and awesome God and worthy of our praise.
Lastly, as we look at verses 26-34 we see Paul and Silas proclaiming the Gospel. When we are in trials we need to continually remember the hope of the Gospel. We need to proclaim the Gospel to ourselves and we need to proclaim the hope of the Gospel to those around us. No matter what our trials, if we have put our hope in Jesus Christ then we have a hope that never fades. No one and nothing can take away our hope that is found only in the Gospel. In fact it is in our hour of trial that we may have the greatest opportunities to proclaim the Gospel.
1 Peter 3:14,15 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect
Pray, praise and proclaim when you are in your hour of trial. So thankful for men like Paul and Silas who modeled for you and I how we ought to walk in whatever trials we find ourselves in.