How do you respond to the circumstances that come your way? (To be honest, sometimes I respond… and sometimes I react!)
Our emotions can bubble up and inform how we respond (or react) to things that happen to us, especially if we feel that we have been treated unfairly. It is easy to lash out in these times. It is also tricky to let these feeling go. So, when you hear stories of people responding to difficult circumstances in positive ways, you tend to sit up and listen.
In Acts 16 we hear the story of Paul and Silas. In short, they had been telling people of the good news about Jesus. Some people didn’t appreciate their influence and they ended up being beaten and put in jail. Instead of sinking in a pit of misery and feeling sorry for themselves they prayed and sang praises to God! Well, next thing there was an earthquake. The doors swung open and they could have escaped. The jailer awoke and fearing the worst (and the penalty that awaited him) began to descend into a state of hopelessness. Paul and Silas called out to him. Seeing that they were still there he fell at their feet and asked about Jesus! After tending to Paul and Silas’ wounds he and his household were baptised! Joy all round! (Oh…Paul and Silas were released in the morning!)
Paul and Silas knew they were secure in God’s love and trusted him completely. They were able to respond, not to the terrible circumstances, but to God with songs of praise. And look what happened!
It can be easy to hold onto heavy thoughts of disappointment and discouragement or prickly feelings of hurt and anger… If you tuck them under your pillow at night, you won’t get a restful night’s sleep. But as you get to know God’s love for you and learn to trust him, you can leave those difficult feelings with him and receive his healing, peace and the good things he has for you. Secure in his love you can choose to respond to difficult situations in a way that that ends up blessing the people around you.
How will you respond to the circumstances you find yourself in today?
God’s love, peace and joy be with you.