Sometimes it is easy to miss how profound a verse is until we examine the context. Acts 16:40 is a case in point. Previous to this verse Paul and Silas were harassed for days by a demon-possessed girl. They were seized and dragged by her angry owners to the authorities. A mob joined in attacking them. The authorities stripped them of their clothes and had them beaten with rods before throwing them into jail and confining their feet in stocks. All of this was illegal. Paul and Silas were Roman citizens who could not be hit or imprisoned without first receiving a fair trial.
God delivered them from their chains through an earthquake. They were able to lead their astonished jailor to Christ. He even washed their wounds and then was baptized along with the rest of his family. The magistrates who had them punished called for their release and after discovering Paul and Silas were citizens they personally came and apologized yet urged the men to leave their town. However, before leaving Paul and Silas visited Lydia’s house to say goodbye to their fellow believers. Who would you logically think would need to be encouraged after going through what they endured? Yet Luke informs us that they encouraged the brothers.
The finest encouragement comes from the one who suffers. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, focusing on their pain, or prolonging the issue of violated rights, Paul and Silas built up their brothers and sisters in Christ. That must have had quite an impact.
Paul and Silas made prison a place for prayer and worship—ministering to their captive audience. They turned adversity into adventure as in let’s see how this ends up glorifying God! They chose to be like Jesus, who after a horrific crucifixion, met His fearful disciples with the message, “Peace to you!” (John 14:19).
Anyone can edify when everything is going well. When our buckets are full the cheers come easy. But how about when life is pocked with pain; when we are nakedly humiliated and unfairly punished? Can we see past ourselves to lift up others?
Yes! We can. Not in our own strength but in the reverberating love the Father gives us; in the brilliant glow of grace His Son extends; in the quiet certainty of hope the Holy Spirit whispers; we can see past ourselves to build up those around us.
When you find yourself in battle and your spirit is sorely tempted to look within, will you let God use you to encourage others? Despite your circumstances will you reach out and lift up coworkers, family members, neighbors, or friends? That’s what makes us different—when in the Savior’s strength we can do what no one expects or expected!
Encouragement is like water to the soul, it makes everything grow.―Chris Burkmenn
©2020 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)