There is a moralistic story told of a man who was an alcoholic. When he passed away, his two sons came to the funeral. It happened that one of the sons was also an alcoholic who had all kinds of trouble in his life. When people asked him why, he responded, “well, with an alcoholic father, I couldn’t do anything else.” The second son had grown up not drinking alcohol at all. When people asked him why, he responded, “well, with an alcoholic father, I couldn’t do anything else.”
Circumstances happen to everyone. It is not the circumstances that shape who we are as a person, it is our responses to those circumstances. It’s an old cliche, but it’s true: our circumstances can make us bitter or they can make us better. The earliest followers of Christ dealt with that issue. “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 11:19-20)
Persecution is designed to put an end to an activity or a belief in this case. Followers of Christ were being arrested by the authorities in Jerusalem, led in part by Saul. As a result, many of these disciples left Jerusalem. They didn’t slink away in fear though. Instead, they proclaimed the gospel to other Jews along the way. When they got to Antioch, they began speaking to non-Jews also. The new believers in Antioch created such a stir in the city that people mocked them and called them “little Christs” or, as we now know believers in Christ, “Christians.” Designed to stomp out the Church, the reaction of the disciples caused the Church to grow and expand and get a name that would allow it to grow beyond its Jewish roots.
Let’s face it: you are either dealing with difficult circumstances now or you will be in the future. That’s called life. The question is how will you deal with those circumstances? If you let the problems overwhelm you, life will head in a downward spiral. If you look at difficult circumstances as a chance to grow and seek to learn from God during those circumstances, you will overcome your circumstances and come out on the other side in a far better situation. Faith truly does give you a victory!
Lord God, let my life reflect the love I have for You no matter what the circumstances may be. As I deal with the trials and tribulations of life, give me the strength to endure and grow in my faith.