So I’ve been reading the book of Acts and just being so blown away by the stories of the early church and the apostles. I feel like I should’ve been born in the 1st Century. Haha.
But this story in Acts 16 really stuck out to me in a way I had never thought about before. Paul and Silas are in Philippi and are going around talking about Jesus and encouraging the believers, and this girl who has a spirit of divination in her, follows them around crying out after them that they are “Servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). And after doing this to them for a few days Paul gets “greatly annoyed” and rebukes the spirit to leave in the name of Jesus and it does. The owners of this girl get really mad at this because they can’t make any more money from her, so they beat Paul and Silas and have them thrown in jail. And in the midst of this all happening, there is this verse,
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. - Acts 16:25-26
Lately I’ve been thinking about how, even in the most random moments of life, looking at the situation and being like “Okay, God, what would You have me do in this moment? How can I glorify You in this?” Because my life is full of these moments. Where I think, I have no idea how I got here and it can only be God, so God why did you place me in this situation and what are You wanting me to do now that I’m here?
And when I read that verse I felt that that is how Paul and Silas felt. They were in jail for goodness sake! And they’re singing and praying?! They weren’t fighting it, they weren’t praying for God to deliver them (though maybe that is what their prayers were, though from what I read in this story I don’t think that’s what they were praying for), they were just praying and singing hymns to God. Maybe they were like “Okay, God, we’re here in jail. What would You have us do in this moment? You obviously have us here for a reason, so we’re going to make the most of this moment.” And they sing and pray. Haha. I love it!
Then even later. When the earthquake happens and their chains are broken, some of us probably would think, “Praise God! You set me free!” and bolt for the outside. But they stayed? Why? I wonder if they knew that the jailer and his family would be saved because of them or if they just sensed in the Spirit that God wasn’t done with their time in prison yet. It says that the other prisoners were listening to them praying and singing, I bet Paul and Silas loved it. My friends joke that I will tell anything that breathes about God, and I wonder if that’s how they felt. ”Oh man, we’re in jail, but oh look! People! Hey, lets tell them about our God!” :D I want to be in jail and still singing praises to God and take every moment as a gift from God and to shine the love of Jesus even in dark and dangerous places.