My heart is breaking for the families of the victims of the racial terrorist attack in South Carolina last Wednesday. Only the grace of God will heal these wounds – it’s hard to imagine how God could bring something good out of this act of evil. As followers of Christ, let’s remember that racial prejudice has no place in God’s kingdom. It is a malevolent evil that God will surely judge. Let’s be quick to reject all forms of it – and through it all, let’s pray for peace.
This Sunday we’ll be reading Acts 16:11-40. It’s a passage filled with irony, and we’ll consider the way God seems to employ irony in the way he leads us through this adventure. Situational irony is when a series of events lead to an unexpected result.
For instance, gunpowder was discovered in the process of looking for the elixir for immortality. That’s irony.
In the section we’ll be reading we’ll see several examples of “divine irony” – where expectations get upended and surprising results are revealed. Paul and Silas go to Philippi in search of a man Paul saw in a vision only to find a group of women, one of whom God plants the 1st church of Philippi through.
A girl is demonically inspired to declare the truth about Paul and Silas and Paul, an emissary of truth stops her from saying it.
The same girl is set free from spiritual bondage which results in a loss of physical freedom for Paul and Silas.
Paul and Silas are in the worst of situations and use it as a cause for singing praise songs.
An earthquake opens the jail doors and breaks the chains but Paul and Silas remain inside the jail.
The man who does great harm to Paul and Silas is warned not to harm himself.
In all of these things God is using terrible situations to shape beautiful things. It’s just his way. How has life gone a different direction than the way you expected – how can factoring in God’s employment of irony help us to cope with bad situations?