"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose." ~ Acts 16:25-26 (NIV)
The story of Paul and Silas' time in prison keeps coming up for me. When I was in high school, my voice teacher gave me a song to perform that shares a beautiful account of the story, and from time to time in life, it comes back to me and sets up camp in my brain.
I'm never quite sure if it's just your average ear worm or if God is using it for His purposes, but I figured this time we could err on the side of the latter and chat a little bit about this piece of God's story. (By the way, that song is today's bonus song of praise, if you're curious.)
I was recently speaking with one of my mentors and... well, I don't know about you, but it seems to me that we might be headed toward a bit of a storm... okay, a mighty big one.
And I think, as we step back and watch and wait... and walk through it... it might behoove us to remember Paul and Silas.
There they are, spreading the Love and Light of God in the name of His Son.
They free a woman tormented...
A woman tormented by a spirit screaming "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." After days and days of this, Paul was irritated and cast the spirit out in the name of Jesus.
I'm not gonna lie, I've always been a bit puzzled by that one. The tormenting spirit is speaking the Truth? Paul is fed up by hearing it? There are so many questions. But, I digress.
Paul and Silas are not only savagely beaten, but they're thrown in prison.
That seems like a problem... especially for those of us who typically experience what are referred to as first world problems.
But, what do they do? What is their response?
They pray and sing praise to the Lord.
When the worries of the world catch up to us, what is our standard response? Are we also willing to sing and praise the Lord?
Then, the most amazing thing happens. There's an earthquake, their chains are broken, and they are free.
Knowing the guard will pay the price if they leave, they choose to stay. The guard and his family are so moved, they come to know the love of God.
While that's a beautiful wonderful piece of the story, I'd like to step back to focus in...
The earthquake happens and their chains are broken.
How often in the earthquakes of life do we pray He would end them, or protect us from them entirely? Yet, if He did what we asked, might we forever remain in chains He did not intend for us to wear?
I learned a prayer some time ago I know I've mentioned before and share again now, for your consideration...
Thank You, Father, for teaching me everything You have for me to learn in this season. Help me to learn it well and completely so I never have to return here again.
I don't know about you, but when the earthquake comes and the chains are broken, I want to know they will never return, that I am free indeed.
"I will give to the LORD the thanks due to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High." ~ Psalm 46:10 (NLT)
"Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke away their chains." ~ Psalms 107:13-14 (BSB)
"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." ~ John 8:36 (NKJV)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥