Happy Mother’s Day to mom’s and those who mother. I pray that everyone has a good memory of a mother (or mother type person). We can be blessed by the abundance of women, young and old, in our lives – I know I am.
Today I was talking about the happenings in Acts 16: 16-40. I have continued to reflect mostly on the beginning portion.
Paul in his frustration casts a demon from a young slave woman. Many of the older commentaries lead us to believe that she was saved and set free (from slavery too) and that all was great for her. But more people seem to wonder what might have happened to her. Was her life actually better or not…
Slaves, generally, were only treated well if they were of great benefit and no one else could take their place. When Paul rebuked the spirit in her he took away her value to her owners – which is why the rest of this passage unfolds they way it does. So if she has lost her value, is her life now less than it was – would her masters actually free her or try to find some other way to use her to their benefit?
There is nothing mentioned in the passage about her believing in Jesus – after all it was the demon that told others that Paul and his crew were slaves to the most high God and that it was through their God where one could find salvation.
Matthew 12:43-45 (NIV)
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Could her life have ended up worse than before…
Lydia, the jailer and his family were ready to believe and change their lives, but I’m not sure about this young slave girl.
It reminds me that we must be careful of our motives and that sometimes even our good actions can still have negative consequences. When we expect everything we do in Jesus name to turn out right we are setting ourselves up for a faith crisis. We don’t know what happened to this woman. We do know that Paul and Silas received a beating and a night in the cold, drafty, damp dungeon with irons on their wrists and ankles.
They did not loose faith but praised and worshiped God in the midst of despair. They and many were blessed by their ability to trust God no matter what.
Please know the good you sometimes seek to do won’t always be well received, the frustrations you loose may harm some and help others, the harm you seek may be used to help (not that that is an excuse to be okay with harming), but that if we allow God to be the focus of our lives, everything that happens can be used for good even if we don’t see or feel it today.
Walk in love and faith – love and care for others the way God loves and cares for you. If we can all do this – in the end we will all praise God and embrace those around us. What a wonderful place this could be. These three remain; faith, love, and hope and the greatest of these is love!! (I hope you know where that’s from)
Blessed day to all,