God’s wisdom revealed in suffering:
God uses suffering for a redemptive purpose.
Read Acts 16:22-34
“They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.”
Paul and Silas are in the one place where no one would want to be: in a dark, damp Roman Prison, feet fastened in stocks, recovering from fresh wounds obtained by a brutal beating inflicted by the Romans. At first glance, it appears the opposition had won. Instead of the people rejoicing because a young girl had been delivered from demonic possession, they had turned against Paul and Silas. As a result, Paul and Silas found themselves badly beaten and in prison.
In spite of their circumstances, Paul and Silas revealed their complete trust in God by three astonishing acts. First, instead of groveling in frustration and anger that God allowed such a thing to happen, they sang praises to God, trusting in his deliverance and using the opportunity to be a witness to others (verse 25). Second, Paul, as a Roman citizen, could have relied upon his legal rights to insulate him from false arrest and beating. Why he did not mention his citizenship until the next morning we can only guess. Perhaps in the shock and upheaval of the events, Paul completely forgot to mention it (unlikely). Perhaps Paul trusted that God had a greater purpose and he was going to wait to see what it was (more probable). Whatever the reason for Paul’s silence, Paul was not sitting in the throes of despair because of his circumstances. Instead he trusted in God’s sovereign work in his life and ministry. Third, even when they had the opportunity to flee when God provided supernatural deliverance, they calmly waited, trusting that God had a greater purpose to achieve than just their deliverance (vv. 26-28). While Paul and Silas did not have the opportunity at the time to understand the purpose behind their distress, as we read the narrative, we have the privilege of seeing the end result. What must have seemed to them like a traumatic turn of events was God orchestrating the affair to provide an opportunity for Christ to be manifested through them in such a way that the jailor and his family would come to realizes the grace and forgiveness of Christ (vv. 26-34).
In this story we find a critical principle of God’s wisdom operating in our suffering. We often view suffering to be a threat to our personal well-being and God’s purpose for our life. However, what we view as a threat to God’s work often provides an opportunity for God to manifest his power and strength through us as a testimony for others to see. God uses the trials we face as an opportunity for others to see the power of his gospel at work in us. Paul would later write to the church at Philippi, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29). As you are going through difficulties, instead of focusing upon the problems, focus on the opportunity to share your faith so that others might ask why you have hope in a time many feel hopeless.