Help for the Suffering

depressed man sitting against the light reflected in the water

Do you suffer from injury, pain, disease or depression? Suffering has been a part of life from the time of Adam and Eve, and we all handle it in different ways. It’s a huge topic and difficult for me to know where to begin, but I want to tell you about the benefits of praise. The Bible records how many people dealt with pain. Job lost his family, wealth and health. I cannot imagine the pain of his boils, so severe he scraped them with shards of pottery–and he complained. Who wouldn’t?

In contrast, Paul and Silas were beaten with rods and put into the deepest, darkest part of prison with their feet in stocks. How unbearable their pain must have been! In the middle of the night they sang praises to God. They got the attention of the other prisoners and the jailer. Then it happened! An earthquake shook the jail. The cell doors flew open, and all the prisoners were free to go, but they stayed for the salvation of the jailer and his family.

Peter and John healed a paralyzed man and used the miracle to tell how the government and the temple leaders crucified Jesus, the Lord of glory, and how He rose from the grave for the salvation of those who believed. The temple rulers ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, but they said, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard,” (Acts 4:19). The officials could not agree on how to punish them and so released them. Peter and John returned to their people to report what had happened and to give prayer and praise to God for His mighty works to save them (Acts 4).


Most of us have not suffered like Job, been beaten and imprisoned like Paul and Silas or persecuted like Peter and John. However, things are changing quickly in our world. Are we ready to face persecution and suffering for what we believe? We might have to.


Holy Lord, gracious Father, draw us so close to you that we will be confident in the day of testing. Speak boldly in us and give us peace even in suffering. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jailhouse Redemption

Photo by Enrico Hu00e4nel on

Paul and Silas were going to the place of prayer by a river in Philippi when a slave girl began to follow them. She had a spirit to predict the future and, day after day, she followed Paul and the others saying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved” (Acts 16:17). Paul grew so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her,” and it did. When the owners of the slave girl realized they had lost their way to make money, they dragged Paul and Silas to the authorities and said they had advocated unlawful customs for the Romans in the city.

Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten and thrown in jail. The jailer put them in the center cell and locked their feet in stocks. At midnight Paul and Silas were singing and praying while the other prisoners listened. A violent earthquake rocked the jail and opened the cell doors. The jailer drew his sword and was about to kill himself when Paul cried out, “Don’t do that! We are all here.”

The jailer called for lights and fell at the feet of Paul and Silas. “What must I do to be saved?” he asked. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved–you and your household,” they said (Acts 16:31). The jailer washed their wounds and fed them. Paul and Silas baptized the jailer and his family.


Do you believe God can use evil for good? That’s what He did in Philippi. Paul became so troubled by the rantings of the slave girl following them, that he turned and delivered her from the spirit of fortune telling. You might wonder what’s so bad about what she did, but she was paid to lead people to trust her stories. God, however, wants us to believe Him and trust Him instead of people. He even uses sin in our lives for good. When we meet a person who is going through something we have, we can witness to them that we have experienced their pain and how God showed His love to us and helped us.


Thank you, Father God, for Jesus. When we are tempted to look to another person or power besides You, help us to refocus on Jesus and His sacrifice to save us from our sin and give us eternal, abundant life with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.