Acts 28:6 (ESV): 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
The ship carrying Paul to Rome, after being blown about in the sea for days, finally shipwrecked at the island Malta. The native people were very kind to the people coming off the ship and built a fire to help them get warm.
Paul gathered some sticks to add to the fire, but a snake came out of the heat and bit him. The people expected him to die, assuming that he was a murderer and deserved such. When Paul did not die, however, they changed their minds and called him a god.
This mindset is very similar to the thinking expressed by Job’s friends in my reading from the Old Testament. Because calamity had befallen Job, he must have sinned somehow. Job needed to repent, they thought.
In reality, Job had not sinned, nor was Paul a murderer. Neither was Paul a god, nor was Job, at the end of his story, perfect. Job had to repent of speaking too boldly of God and God’s ways.
Both men were followers of God allowed by God to suffer difficulty.
We should not be hasty in attributing sinfulness to those who suffer or godliness to those who achieve success in life.
Heavenly Father, thank you that neither the difficulties I experience in life necessarily are a sign that I have displeased you nor the successes I experience are proof that I am extra-spiritual.
Thank you for your grace that accepted us when we are sinners but changes us to be saints, reflecting the image of Jesus. Amen.