when paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. – [acts 28:3]


when bad things happen to good people


paul had been through a harrowing shipwreck adventure and is now safely ashore. Yet there were indeed more calamities awaiting. This passage finds paul gathering sticks for a fire many of his fellow passengers never thought they would see. aside from paul’s assurance that they would live, many were sure that they would perish in the storm that had tossed them about at sea.


now safely ashore, paul continues to serve these people by keeping the fire going. yet even in this selfless act, paul finds himself a victim of a snakebite. it seems as if this man cannot get a break! Since his experience with Jesus on the road to damascus, everything paul has done is to proclaim who Jesus is and testify to the Lord’s salvation and goodness. this testimony, has led to beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, even now he is not given a moment to just relax.


paul endures, and endures, and endures.


there are days when its feels like i walk from one catastrophe to the next, and i don’t understand why. perhaps you have felt this too.

my first, poor, instinct is often to question God, asking ‘why me’? i strive to follow you faithfully, lean into your word and trust in your grace. so why do bad things keep happening when I am just trying to do good?


the answer is that we will not know the answer, but if even paul was subject to shipwrecks and snakebites we cannot except that we won’t be troubled as well. what we do know is that God will use these trials to refine us, to lean into his word, to learn to endure and to build our faith in him. Jesus himself said in john 16:33, “in the world you will have tribulation. but take heart; I have overcome the world.” these trials, these tribulations, will be used to His good purposes and to our good if we trust in Him and allow Him to work.


~ jaason soroski