And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
Sometimes Satan tries to destroy or discourage us with sizable storms. Other times, he uses sneaky little snakes. While Paul was helping people, the snake struck. And you can be sure that’s when the serpent will strike you. When you are helping others, serving others, loving others — from out of the heat of hell, Satan will strike.
Paul, however, would use this opportunity to share the Gospel with these people in a uniquely powerful way. You see, the fallacy of the over-emphasis of the faith movement — the mentality which says we should never be smitten by snakes — is that it robs us of opportunities to share the Gospel. While the Maltese people knew about these snakes, and had watched their families and loved ones succumb to their poison — now they were about to see how Paul would handle the power, the danger, the pain of their venom.
So too, the Lord will allow you to go through difficulties. The doctor may say, ‘It’s inoperable.’ And no matter how you name it and claim it, folks, it may be the Lord’s plan for you to navigate that pain and venom in such a way that those around you who are also losing their loved ones to cancer, will change their minds about Who God is as a result. Jesus said to Thomas,
not — ‘Watch this miracle’, not — ‘'Listen to this sermon’, but ‘Touch My wounds’.
The world is rarely impacted and drawn to Jesus Christ through the sight of Christians prospering. No, it’s through seeing believers suffering, but not giving up, that the skeptics change their minds.
Perhaps the most important ministry you’ll ever have is when people see how you react to the pain they go through all of the time. Difficulty is the agent which often allows people an opportunity to see the reality of Jesus Christ most clearly.