“. . . with reliance upon the Lord, . . .” Acts 14:3
The problem is always part of the solution. Whether living or working, we will find ourselves in a hostile environment. God hasn't promised to always put us in conducive situations. Jesus Himself was a root springing up out of dry ground. It’s possible to flourish in places where you are not being fed. When God puts us in a problematic place, there always is a purpose.
The short passage describing the ministry in Iconium is filled with violent feelings and actions. It’s no surprise that there was no outstanding work which took place there. With all the conflict and opposition, it would be next to impossible to work under circumstances such as those.
Every person who has had to pass through negative environments knows how difficult it is to live in an atmosphere of dissention, suspicion, and antagonism. The temptation is to make excuses for our failures due to the fact that conditions were unfavorable, and yet in the case of Iconium, the work of the Lord was being done in spite of the circumstances.
Sometimes a person’s most persuasive influence comes in the midst of unfavorable circumstances. God put you in unpleasant difficult places so you could shine a light in darkness; so you could light up your work place. You are on an assignment, you’ve been set apart. You are a soldier. Soldiers don’t belong in a Lazy Boy chair, they belong in a battle on the front lines.
The story of Paul is a lesson to everyone working under difficult circumstances. For while he was there, the few people Paul was influenced by, continued to be witnesses to many more. No matter how hard the situation, how barren it may appear, there is always the possibility something good can come from it.
There may only be trouble and strife, we must never let confusion and chaotic circumstances be an excuse for not achieving great things for the Lord. The thunder may already be rolling through the skies, but great things come out of storms – Paul did.
Are you making the most out of tough times?