He Is Able / Day 3

BIBLE READING

Ephesians 3: 20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Acts 16: 22-34

Paul and Silas....were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, ‘Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!’

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’

They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptised. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole household.

REFLECTION

When Paul is writing the letter to the church in Ephesus, he is imprisoned, probably in Rome, for sharing the Gospel. This however wasn't his first time in prison.  In Acts 16 we read that Paul and Silas were also imprisoned for delivering a young girl from a demonic spirit.  On this occasion, they were praying and worshipping the Lord in their cell during the night when God sent an earthquake, shaking the jail and setting them free.  The result was that the prison guard and his whole household became followers of Jesus.  

However, when he writes to the Ephesians, this time there is no earthquake, no shaking, no deliverance, no conversions.  In fact, Paul was to spend two years under house arrest during this time. His freedom was greatly restricted, his ability to carry out his work extremely hindered. Yet, in the midst of this hardship and adversity, Paul still breaks into this great hymn of praise declaring the mighty power and awesome ability of God to do more than we could ask or imagine.  

Paul's praise wasn't shaped by his circumstances, his worship wasn't dependent on what was happening to him, his view of God didn't fluctuate with his conditions, his perspective wasn't limited by his pain.  God was still the same awesome, faithful, incredible, all-powerful God, no matter what situation Paul found himself in.  

When we are going through difficult times, the enemy loves to taunt us with lies and doubts such as: "If God really loved you, He wouldn't make you go through this..."; "If God was as powerful as you say He is, He would have healed you by now..."; "Maybe God isn't as good as they tell you He is...."

The best way to deal with these false accusations is to proclaim God's power in the middle of our circumstances, declare His goodness as we suffer through the situation, praise Him even when there's pain, acknowledge His presence as you walk through the valley, worship Him in the deepest darkness.  No matter what is happening around you, you can decide what is happening inside you.  Let your perspective be shaped by who God is and what He says in His Word.  Look back and see His faithfulness.  Remember His goodness and provision.  Recall how He has come through for you again and again.  And resolve, like God's servants in the book of Daniel, about to be thrown into the fiery furnace because he wouldn't worship the king: "....the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us....But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Dan 3: 17-18)

Our circumstances do not alter His ability, our condition doesn't change His character, our pain in no way contradicts His power.  He is able.