Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Posted by: Kim Stiver
Sermon Text: Acts 16
There are times in life when everyone feels stuck. Stuck in a rut. Stuck in a miserable job. Stuck in a relationship. Stuck in debt. And when we find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, the enemy swiftly moves in to amplify the feeling of immobility in our minds. There is nothing Satan wants more than to make us feel like God doesn’t care where we are or that we feel trapped by whatever position we’re in. Of course, you and I know that God always cares about us and every situation we find ourselves in, even if we’re stuck in a bad place of our own doing. Whether we get ourselves in an uncomfortable situation or God allows a season of difficulty to come our way, He can — and will — always use it for His glory and His purposes if we allow Him to do so.
In our journey through Acts, God has allowed Paul to get stuck in many uncomfortable and often downright painful situations. This time we find Paul in Philippi alongside Silas, delivering the Gospel to an eager crowd. Many people are coming to Christ and the Word is spreading rapidly until Satan decides to throw a monkey wrench in things. So Paul and Silas find themselves in jail… again. Wrongfully accused and not even granted a fair trial, which was required under Roman law, they were beaten with rods (ouch!) and then fastened to the floor of a cold, dank jail with their feet in stocks. Talk about being stuck! But what Satan meant for harm, God used for good in mighty ways.
Acts 16:25-40 is an amazing reminder of how God sometimes calls us to remain in a hard place of our own free will, even when it makes sense for us to run out of there as quickly as possible. Paul and Silas were miraculously set free from the prison by a divinely timed earthquake, but instead of getting out while they could, they stayed, showing Christ-like mercy to the jailer, who would’ve killed himself before his superiors had the chance to do so. Essentially, Paul and Silas willingly laid down their lives for the man who was holding them hostage. They chose to remain stuck out of obedience to the God they loved and out of their love for others. When the jailer experienced this sacrificial love, it led his heart and those of his entire household to give their lives to Jesus. The jailer then poured out the love of God onto Paul and Silas, washing their wounds and treating them like he would one of his own family members. When the work of salvation was completed, God then stirred the hearts of the town magistrates to officially release Paul and Silas.
The hard places of life are inevitable. But when we find ourselves stuck in them, God always wants us to draw near to Him — the Rock of our salvation. Paul was very fond of quoting Psalms, and there’s no doubt when he and Silas were sitting shackled to a floor of misery they were praising their God with verses like this one. Psalm 18:2 says, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Like Paul, we can let go of our fears and anticipate great things when we persevere between the great Rock that is our God and a hard place. Our God always makes a way. And with the right perspective, your sense of being stuck can be transformed into a time of growth for His glory.
Scripture Meditations for this week:
Want to grow more? Check out the additional resources below:
- Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore
- You'll Get Through This by Max Lucado
- In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars by Mark Batterson