We’ve all asked the question, “Why did this have to happen to me?” Perhaps, this question will never be answered this side of heaven. There is one, however, that we can answer.
Believers should not be asking “Why bad things happen to good people” but rather “What to do when bad things do happen to God’s people.”
1. When bad things happen don’t neglect worship. (v. 25):
Can any of us really say that we know what Paul and Silas must have been feeling while they suffered in prison? They had never done anything but good for God and had faithfully followed His plan for their lives. How could everything go so wrong? They were in prison, stripped naked, beaten bloody and possessing a very uncertain future.
What did they do about it? Moan and groan, condemn and complain?
Nothing good ever comes from believers acting like that. Instead they chose to worship and make God the focus of their attention rather than their misery. Being obsessed with our miserable circumstances is a trap of the devil. Focusing on God despite our circumstances always brings victory.
2. When bad things happen don’t underestimate God’s power. (v. 26):
When Paul and Silas chose to focus on God rather than their trouble God followed up by doing something for them they could not do for themselves. The building crumbled, the doors were opened, and their chains fell off. God used one of the most destructive forces in nature not to destroy but to preserve His saints. When bad things happen we must not make the mistake of underestimating God.
3. When bad things happen don’t be vindictive. (vv. 27-28):
This isn’t likely what most of us would have said after being treated by someone like the jailer had treated Paul and Silas. The need for revenge is one of our most basic human emotions. However, there is nothing spiritual about our need for making someone else suffer the way as we have. This is not the Lord’s way. Aren’t you glad that God didn’t feel this way toward us? If Paul had sought revenge neither this man nor his family would likely have ever come to Christ.
4. When bad things happen look for an opportunity to witness. (vv. 31-32):
Many of us are waiting for the perfect opportunity to witness. We should be ready to witness at all times, Peter tells us that very clearly.
1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
But I believe God uses us most effectively as witnesses when people are most likely to listen. The Philippian jailer was in the most desperate situation of his life, and because of this, he was ready to hear what Paul had to say about Jesus. A whole family came to Christ because Paul made the most of a bad situation.
Something to think about, don’t you agree?