Text: Acts 16:25-40 | Listen to Message
Purpose in Your Pain
Paul and Silas found themselves in prison, the victims of gross injustice. Their only “crime” was delivering a demon-possessed girl from the exploitation of her masters. But predators are too devious to be troubled with facts, so they’ve had the missionaries beaten and imprisoned on false charges. This is the cost of doing God’s business in Philippi.
But the missionaries’ response to pain, adversity, and injustice is remarkable. As everything is caving in around them, they choose to pray, and sing, and witness to their captive audience! Even more remarkable, when an earthquake shakes the prison and they are free to go, they sacrifice their freedom in order to tell the jailer about freedom in Christ.
Paul and Silas had something we all need: they had perspective. Instead of viewing God through the lens of their deplorable circumstances, they chose to view their circumstances through the lens of what they knew to be true about God. So instead of concluding, “God must not really care about us,” they concluded, “Because we know God loves us, He must have a purpose for us even here in this prison cell!”
When we face trials and unfairness today, it’s easy to focus on our pain and to let our frustrations color our thinking about God. “He must not love me.” “He must not really care.” “He must not be as good as I thought He was.” “I don’t see any point to this, so there must not be one.” But if you let circumstances dictate your theology like this, you’re going to settle for a weak faith and a poor quality of life!
Here’s the key to having unshakable faith when everything around you is shaking: make it your passion to know God. If you know the love, and grace, and sovereignty, and justice of God – if you experience these things in your inner person – you will have real joy and a clear purpose that transcend your circumstances.