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Don't make assumptions
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ow often do we hear someone comment about another’s difficulties, saying things like, "Oh, they should have seen that coming." Or, "Man I wonder what they did to deserve that?"

People often are so willing to give advice to the one who is hurting: "Let me tell you how to deal with that or what to do," or "Here is what I think (like Job’s friends)." These people just seem to add to the problem instead of ministering to the person in need.

Some superstitious folks made some pretty wild assumptions about Paul after he and some others suffered through a great storm, a shipwreck and, to top it all off. a snake bite!

Hey! That stuff hurts. But Paul kept silent, kept faithful in ministry.

Well, turns out these folks changed their minds to, "Oh well, he didn’t die from the bite, so he must be a god." Oh, brother! Please!

What can we learn from this? First, when you see someone hurting, don’t assume anything. Simply ask, "Can I do anything to help?"

Second, realize that when you’re hurting, God can still use you to minister to and influence others. Keep your focus on God, His Word, His promises and don’t let people distract you.

"But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects." (Acts 28:5-6)

Dr. William Burnham is pastor of Point of Grace Church in Covington. He can be reached at