Thursday, November 12, 2009

Woe is me!

Have you ever had one of those "Woe is me!" moments. "Woe is me, I decorated the house for Christmas and no one even noticed!" Woe is me, I bought a new set of hunting gear and no one invited me to go this season!" Wooooe is me, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner will all the fixings and all anyone did was talked about how dry the turkey was and how the cranberry sauce was not like grandma made it!" My guess is we have all been there and the list could go on and on. Our typical response when something like this happens is "Well see if I ever do that again for those ungrateful so and so's!" or "Next time you can cook it yourself you ...!" or "Thats it, I am done with him...he can starve for all I care!" Now I am sure that you have never said this but you probably have friends who have told you about this type of reaction right! If you ever find yourself or "a friend" talking like this remind them of the attitude of Paul. When things are not going your way take a look at what was going on in the book of Acts. If anyone had the right to have this attitude it was Paul. Look at the following account of Paul offering something far more important than a Thanksgiving dinner to the people of Lystra. During Paul's first missionary journey Paul traveled over 500 miles by sea and by land to bring the Gospel to these people. Let's take a look at their response:

Acts 14: 19 - Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.

Hmm! Not the reaction he was probably hoping for right. I mean, here is Paul offering these people eternal life. Offering these people forgiveness for their sins and they treated him this way! If anyone had a right to say "Woe is me" it was Paul. But Paul did not say that, take a look at his reaction:

Acts 14: 20 - But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city.

Hmm! Not the reaction I would have had. Not only did he go back right after this happened but he went back to Lystra on his other two missionary trips.

As Paul continued his mission to spread the Gospel he entered the city of Philippi. Paul and Silas cast a demon out of a slave girl and her owners were not happy to say the least. This girl was a fortune teller who made them a lot of money. These guys drug Paul and Silas before the magistrate and it was not pretty.

Acts 16: 22-24 - 22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Here is yet another "Woe is me" moment for these guys but how did they respond? Look at the very next verse:

Acts 16: 25 - About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Wow! Not the response I would have had! Not only did they pray and sing but Paul returned to Philippi at a later date to again share the Gospel with them. You can read about this in Acts 20.

There may be a legitimate "Woe is me" moment that you find yourself in but instead of staying in it and getting all worked up just remember what David said in Psalms 34 when things were not going well for him either:

Psalm 34: 17 - 19 - 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all

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