Acts 22:30-23:22; Judges 19; Psalm 44
There is a reason why some situations are called “difficult.” No one wants to be in one of those situations. When you are in one it seems like there is trouble on every side. It seems like there is no escape and ultimately you wonder if anything good can come of your situation. Most of us avoid “difficult” situations but sometimes, you just get stuck in the middle of one. So what do you do?
Paul seemed to do a couple of things. First, he continued to trust in God. Second, he continued to witness to the resurrection and the power of Christ. Third, he sought any way that he could to find a sympathetic ear. Nevertheless, after being taken into custody because of the lies of those who accused him of breaking Jewish law, and the resulting riot, he still was in trouble – so to speak. These words may not have given Paul comfort, but they must have given him strength: “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.’” Not only would Paul testify in Rome, he would be brought there by the Romans. As we who have finished the book of Acts in the past know what happened we saw that Paul used his rights as a Roman citizen to get a hearing before Caesar and shared the good news of Jesus Christ with those who were guarding and imprisoning him.
I doubt that Paul would have chosen that method, if God had given him a choice. I know that I would not willingly go to jail as a first option. At the same time, rather than lose heart and give up over discouragement at his situation, Paul used his faith and trust in God to change his troubles into opportunities to serve. I pray that when I face troubles that I might also find ways to honor God in the midst of the “difficult” situation.