Paul was in a situation where the ship he was on sank, he barely made it to an island, and was accused of being a cursed murderer after being bitten by a serpent. However, God protected Paul and changed it all into a matter that glorified God. When Satan presents us with difficulties in order to disappoint and scare us, this is the perfect condition for God to work.
Why Does He Put Us in Difficulty?
When we look at Acts chapter 27, the ship that Paul rode to go to Rome encountered a storm. Also, in chapter 28, though the ship was wrecked, the people on the ship either swam or held onto pieces of driftwood and objects to reach the Island of Melita. Because it rained and the weather became cold, the barbarous people living there kindled a fire for the people from the shipwreck. When Paul laid a bundle of sticks on the fire, a viper that was hiding there came out and bit his hand. The barbarous people saw the viper hanging from Paul’s hand and spoke among themselves. “This man must be a murderer, even though he escaped from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.”
Why did this hardship come upon Paul? Why did God allow such hardship to His child who received salvation, a servant of God who lives for the gospel when those who are not children of God live without any problems?
Because God Was There
When you look in Genesis chapter 1, at first the earth was without form (chaotic without order or shape), void (empty), and darkness (dark without light) was on the face of the deep. However, it wasn’t alone in that condition; the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. If God hadn’t been there when the earth was chaotic, void, and dark, the earth would have stayed the same for tens of thousands of years. However, God was there. He was not pleased with the earth being chaotic, void, and in darkness. Therefore, He made light. God brought the earth out of that darkness into the light and He saw that it was good.
In this Word, the earth stands for us. Satan creates darkness, pain, and disappointment in our hearts. However, regardless of our pain or are in conditions to be disappointed, there is no reason for us to be discouraged if God is alive among us. God reverses the dark, disappointing, and difficult situations made by Satan into His glorifying works.
God Who Works through Difficulties and Problems
Looking at Paul who was bitten by the viper, the barbarous people said, “this man really is a murderer! He is a cursed man! Look at this! The viper is biting him! Soon he is going to die!” However, God protected Paul and changed that situation. They thought that Paul was going to swell up and die; but, when they saw there was nothing wrong with him, they called him a “god.” Therefore, they treated Paul very kindly and went up to him and were cured of their diseases. God had changed the hearts of the barbarous people and fulfilled the glorification of God.
One time, the Apostle Paul was confined in the Philippi prison. Why did a person preaching the precious gospel have to be confined in a prison? Because there were people there who needed to hear the gospel. After Paul was imprisoned, God created an earthquake that opened all the doors and loosed the bonds of the prisoners. Through this incident, God opened a way to preach the gospel to the jailor of the prison and his family and they all received salvation. Although it was difficult for the jailor to hear the gospel in normal circumstances while he was with the prisoners, he was able to receive salvation because Paul was imprisoned in the jail. The moment the jailor and his family received salvation, God made it possible for Paul to be released from the prison.
Because David left Ziklag unguarded when he went out to battle, and when he returned, he was greeted with the fortress in flames and all the women and children were taken captive. How much hardship would David have felt at that time? However, from that moment on, God began to work and not only did David recover all the people that were caught, but also gained many spoils. Also, soon after, God fulfilled the glorifying task of making David into a king.
The Work of Satan Is the Condition for God to Work
In 2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 12 the Bible says, “yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Like this, Satan hates the work that we saved people do. It wouldn’t be a problem to Satan if we didn’t preach the gospel or serve God and just followed the flesh. But, Satan will never stay still when we preach the gospel and fulfill the will of God. He puts us into despair by giving us many problems and difficulties. However, God will reveal His power inside of us and uncover His glory when we look up to Him and not fall into despair but instead think, “God will work inside of us!”
When Paul tried to relax and take a rest after arriving on the Island of Melita from the shipwreck, Satan tried to accuse him as an evil murderer and kill him by sending a viper. However, God changed the work to glorifying God by protecting Paul, who was instead lifted up by the barbarous people who received salvation and were cured of their diseases.
It is not for us to be disappointed, by difficulties, or be in fear by the works of Satan happening around us. These are the conditions for God to work. That’s why I wish that you will have hope and faith when a difficult and hard situation occurs, and you will think, “now, God will work for me!”