Now, lest any of my friends be offended, I’m simply relating a bumper sticker I saw many years ago, (only without the asterisks). And regardless of the French, doggone it, it’s just true. Bad things happen, to good people! And it happens when good people try to do good things! I don’t like it, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Of course, we’re in good company. Here’s one of my fave recounts of two heroes in my book, Paul and Silas. Paul’s #2, Barnabas, has split the scene to find John Mark, and Silas fills the shoes for Paul’s counterpart. Preaching this new and exciting message of the resurrected Messiah is not, however, completely received with welcoming arms to many of the townspeople at this particular whistlestop. Finding themselves beaten and thrown in prison, feet in stocks, guards posted around, bleeding, bruised, I dunno, personally I would be more than a little put out.
And I probably would have been more than a little verbal about it.
Paul and Silas were verbal also, just in a different way that made all the difference. Here’s the official account:
“But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (1)
Whoa. So instead of griping about why did we end up here when all we were doing was what God told us to do when SLAM here we are in a hole with bloody backs, blah, blah,… Instead of going that way, they chose to “have them some church” right there, and THAT got the other prisoners attention.
Makes me wonder what people see in me when I go through a hard thing. Someone tries to tank my reputation, or misunderstands my intentions, or keeps bringing up past mistakes, or (the list goes on.) It’s the “hidden congregation” I’m referring to, the ones I don’t know are watching and, (gulp!), learning what Jesus is supposedly like based on the behavior of His representatives.
Generally speaking, praising God in the midst of trying circumstances may not produce the same astounding results that these two got with the earthquake. No matter, since the eternal consequence of people’s reactions may be even greater.
And THAT puts us in very good company, indeed.
- Acts 16:25 (NASB)