Reflection: Acts, week 15

Suffer well.

It just sounds weird in your mouth if you say it out loud. This week, we heard Jason talk about Paul and Silas in Acts chapter 16. They were beaten and tortured… and all they did was free a slave woman. But because she was a fortune-teller, and she previously earned her owners good money, they were very upset when they realized their way of getting that money was gone.

While in jail, Paul and Silas sang praises and prayers to God. An earthquake shook the prison, and all the doors opened. Their chains came off. Paul alerted the jailer they were all still around and did not escape, saving the man from killing himself in fear they were all gone on his watch.Adobe Spark(25)

No doubt the jailer was watching Paul and Silas and probably wondering how they could sing during such a time… or why they would bother to stop him from taking his own life. Their response to their situation was different. How many other prisoners did he see act in such a way?

The jailer decided he wanted what they had. He wanted to be saved. So he was baptized.

One thing I feel I’ve learned is not only should we suffer well, but we should live well. You really don’t know when someone’s watching, but chances are, someone always is. God has put me in situations, and I later realize it was so purposefully designed.

I remember one cold, winter day in college I was walking outside back to my car because I forgot my wallet. I needed it because I had a lunch meeting with someone. I went to college in Wisconsin, so as you might imagine, it was not warm at all. I can remember I didn’t have much of a coat on, so I was freezing. The art and music building was right across from the parking lot where my car was, but I was so cold, I went inside to warm up before going back out.

I was sitting in the lobby area trying to regain feeling in my legs, when I noticed a girl from my Spanish class a little ways from me. She was crying and seemed very upset about something. I normally don’t like to get into peoples’ business, but I felt compelled to go over to her. I didn’t know her very well, but we were going to be starting a project together. I thought it would help to at least ask if she was ok.

She welcomed my presence and told me her boyfriend broke up with her. She went on to tell me other things about their relationship and other things bothering her. I ended up cancelling my lunch meeting because I had a feeling I was supposed to stay with her. I don’t remember how long I sat with her, but it was a while. I put my arm around her and just listened. At some point during our time together, she was asking me about what I believed and different things like that. She wondered if God was mad at her because of things she had done. It was amazing to be able to share with her the good news that God was not mad at her… that he loved her so much and only wanted to have a relationship with her.

You never know what God’s up to. If you feel a calling, don’t ignore it. If it wasn’t right or it wasn’t what you thought it was, don’t get discouraged. That will happen. Thankfully, I haven’t had to suffer in my life. I’ve been through trials, certainly. If you read my blog on Acts week 12, you know I went through a rough and emotional start to my pregnancy. Not a lot of people knew about it, but I know and believe God was showing me signs all the time the baby would be just fine. When some people close to me did start to know, I held fast to what God was saying. There were lots of times I felt discouraged or afraid, but when that happened, I would remind myself over and over again of God’s promises.

We’re human, so we’ll never be perfect. We’re going to have those days where nothing seems to go right. It is so important we do the best we can, living well and being conscious of ourselves, setting our minds every day to be the best we can. People watch people. They just do. I want them to see something different about me, just like the jailer did with Paul and Silas.

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