We naturally tend to assume that bad things only happen to people who have done something to deserve it. Of course, we believe ourselves to be good people so we definitely don’t deserve to have anything bad happen to us. This is why, when the Maltese people saw a poisonous viper latch onto Paul’s hand, they assumed that he must have done something to deserve it. When we read this account, our reaction is very different, because we know who Paul really is. We know what God thinks of him and how He is using him, so we don’t have the extreme reactions to this situation that the Maltese did. They thought that if he died it was because he was a murderer and if he lived it was because he was a god. Why did they misunderstand this episode so terribly? Because they did not know who Paul was in Jesus Christ. That was the true source of his identity. He was loved by the Lord. We was neither a god nor a man that God was punishing. Instead he was a man loved by the Lord and being used to accomplish His purposes. That is where we need to find our true identity: in the loving plan of the Lord. If we don’t then we will be tossed about by the winds of our circumstances to either think too much of ourselves or too little. Only by looking to the Lord will we really have an unshakable sense of who we are and what our purpose is.