By Randy Reynolds
Often times people (in general) allow mishaps, disasters, death, sickness and trials and tribulations, etc., to be their time for self-pity. “Oh pity me,” they exclaim, as if to infer that they were the only ones on whom perilous times had ever fallen. So they set out to blame God for all that has happened. Yes, this attitude does exist and it exists among a great many people, but it should not, and cannot be the demeanor of a Christian. A Christian must rise above the lowly walk in darkness and those of the world and not allow perilous times to set him at variance with God Almighty. A Christian must continue to practice truth and not allow a sinful attitude to exist.
If any would have had a strong case for having a right to seek “self-pity,” it would have been the apostle Paul and Silas. But that was not the case at all. No, instead of the self-pity routine, seemingly Paul and Silas sought to bring glory and honor to God even when situations and conditions were less than favorable.
Notice one particular example in the New Testament Scriptures (see Acts 16:16-39). Do you recall in this reading in Acts how Paul, after deliberating for many days, had commanded the demon spirit out of the certain slave girl (vv. 16-18)? Ana because of this Paul and Silas were brought before the authorities and then the chief magistrates, the ones in supreme power in this Roman colony (vv. 19,20). Then without being allowed a defense and being accused of “false charges” (v. 21), their robes were torn, they were beaten with rods and thrown into an inner (maximum security) prison. And if this was not enough punishment they fastened their feet in the stocks (vv. 23,24).
What a fine opportunity this would have been for Paul and Silas sitting in a dark dungeon with their backs bleeding from the scourge and their feet locked in the stocks, to blame God. Or if they wouldn’t blame God, don’t you think that they would at least be entitled to cry out for the pity of all those who could hear them and then just sit there and feel sorry for themselves?
That is not what Paul and Silas chose to do at all. (Be thankful for their example of courage and strength.) Instead they decided to go to God in prayer and then sing to him songs of praise (v. 25). Not only did this comfort Paul and Silas, it pleased God and led the way to the eventual baptizing of the jailer and all of his house (v. 32).
A Lesson for Us Today
In this text there is a lesson for the Christian of every era. And that lesson is one of “making the best of it. ” Make the best of all situations, instead of falsely accusing God and then worrying and pouting (feeling sorry for oneself). Make the best of it.
We don’t stand alone. Peter says in 1 Peter 5:6,7 that we should, after humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God, cast all of our anxiety upon him because he cares for us. And after telling us in vv. 8 and 9 to resist our adversary the devil, he adds these very beautiful words in v. 10: “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
Paul also adds in Philippians 4:6,7 – “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpassed all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As Christians, we must “practice the truth” (1 Jn. 1:5b) and avoid giving Satan opportunities (Eph. 5:27). We should live every word and deed of our life so as to bring glory and honor to God Almighty. Our profit lies in seeking God and that eternal home in heaven; we just cannot allow ourselves to be burdened by the cares of this present world we live in.
We don’t stand alone. For Paul says in Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long: We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angel, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Certainly each and everyone of us must realize that his strength comes from God Almighty. We must never forsake him; we must continue to press on. Let us make the best of it.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 7, p. 206
April 6, 1989