This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live. (Acts 28:4)
The people gathered around the campfire that night watched as Paul reached for more wood to place on the fire. As he did, a poisonous snake bit him. In the minds of those around him, there was only one possible reason such trouble had come upon Paul – he was guilty of something horrendous – maybe even murder. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Little did the people on the island of Malta know that Paul was guilty of no such thing. He was being transported as a prisoner to stand trial in Rome before Nero simply for his preaching of the gospel. That was his crime. Yet the people on Malta didn’t bother to learn the facts; they simply concluded that this bad thing must have happened to a “bad person.”
Before we cast stones, let’s take a moment to examine our own thinking. When we see hard times befall others, do we look for reasons why they “deserved it?” Do we hope to find some “cause” so that we can somehow feel more secure that similar hardship couldn’t come our way?
May I offer another perspective on why God often allows hardship into our lives? He wants us to demonstrate how godly people respond when difficulty comes. For example, God occasionally allows Christian businesses to fail so others can see how a Christian businessman responds. Christians experiences the same illnesses as non-Christians; perhaps so the world can see the difference in how we respond.
Suffering is not a curse from God upon those He’s displeased with. No, hardship and suffering become a platform from which our faith is demonstrated for the world to see. Let’s be careful not to jump to conclusions about what God may be doing! –Dave
(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at: http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the new devotional books, visit: http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).