By Benjamin H. Liles
A recent tragedy in my wife's extended family helped to get me back to doing this. This trouble is actually so close to home for me it got me wondering, "How would I respond when tragedy strikes?" How do any of us respond? A dear cousin of my wife was wondering how life can be so frail as she sat on her porch. She noticed a man walking past and he was on his way to doing himself harm. Rather than simply letting him go by my wife's cousin decided to engage the man in conversation and ended up blessing him regardless.
Whatever troublesome circumstance you currently find yourself in, God knows about it. He knows so well that when Paul and Silas were on one of their missionary trips in modern day Turkey that they were imprisoned. Instead of looking at their problems and how they were going to deal with them, they sang praises to God on high. Scripture records that "At midnight [while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns]...there was a great earthquake, and immediately all the doors were loosed" (Acts 16:25-26).
What you do in times of trouble shows where and in whim your trust is in. Paul and Silas expressed their faith in what God can do by the power of His Spirit. Rather than run out the door of the prison they were in, they saw the opportunity to reach a Roman jailer who ran in who was going to commit suicide as he had been asleep on the job when the prison doors were loosed. The result is that because of Paul and Silas' faith in Jesus Christ they were able to minister to this Roman jailer and his family and they all came to faith! (see Acts 16:29-34).
I know not all tragedy bears witness of faith in action. We are rash people who are often without God. I would love to explain to you I'm firmly planted in Jesus Christ and do His will always, but I'm not a super saint, and quite honestly neither was Paul. He just allowed God's Spirit to lead him where he needed to go and to bless others as Jesus Christ desired him to be a blessing.
Our faith, then, is an opportunity for us not simply to reflect on things--albeit is understandable--but is a bit of a time to think on how God desires us to use those circumstances. In the case of my wife's cousin, she met that man's needs and ministered to him in faith while she herself was struggling in her faith. Many years ago a women who endured great trouble and hardship learned to put her trust in God. Corrie Ten Boom had watched helplessly as Nazi Germany put to death Jews and for no real reason.
Corrie could have slunk away and hid her faith in the God who rescued and redeemed her. But she was quoted as saying, "When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer." Corrie Ten Boom ministered to her sister who also died at the hands of their aggressors, so I can just imagine how horrific times were for her. Indeed the tunnel got very dark for her. And yet, in her faith, she entrusted herself to the Engineer who would help her to be one of the greatest blessings of the Twentieth Century.
Sure. I'm well aware I don't know what trouble of problem you're facing, but the point is to stand firm and strong against the evil you are facing. We're told, "For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against...the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens" (Ephesians 6:12, Holman Christian Standard). We are to stand firm, solid in our faith, immovable and watch and see how God is at work and moving in our lives so we can be an even greater witness of His glory and revelation in our lives. I pray this encourages and helps you today. That it enables you to stand firm, to bless others as God has blessed you. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray Amen.