6/7 Acts 28:3

3 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.

Paul's many hardships remind me of Joseph's. They were both betrayed by their fellow Jews, imprisoned on false charges, and stayed in prison for an extended time. Both found favor with their jailor. The big difference is that Joseph was exalted before his death, but Paul was exalted after his death.

In our verse for today, Paul is on his way to Rome to have his case heard by Caesar. In all likelihood, a representative of Caesar, not Caesar himself, would have heard him. Paul advised the centurion, Julius, to wait until the weather was better, but Julius took the captain's advice and set sail. Soon a storm drove the ship and they were in danger of drowning. After a number of days Paul saw a vision of the Lord who told him they would all be saved, so Paul encouraged all on board to eat. After running aground on a reef, they all safely made it to shore on the island of Malta. The natives there helped them warm up from the cold by building a fire. Paul helped gather wood but was bitten by a viper as he threw the wood into the fire.

The natives were sure the bite was a god's justice upon Paul. That sounds like what some Christians today might think. But when Paul was not bothered by the bite, they began to think he was a god. This opened the door of opportunity for Paul to preach about Jesus. No doubt, the two hundred seventy-six souls from the ship also heard the gospel in its fullness. What we sometimes think is a compounding disaster can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. How often we misinterpret what is happening around us! When will we learn that our faithful God is in the midst of every situation to work through it for the salvation of souls?

Prayer: Lord, help us to see our next difficulty through eyes that believe in Your faithfulness and power. Help us see what You are doing through it.