“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly, a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the jail. All the doors immediately flew open, and all the prisoners’ chains came loose.” Acts 16:25-26 GW
Background: Paul (formerly Saul) a Jewish dude who massively opposed Christianity was on one of his anti-Christian ‘mission’ trips – to arrest believers in Damascus (with permission) and bring them bound to Jerusalem. He encountered Jesus on the way and found out he was a chosen vessel by God to bring forth the good news especially to the Gentiles: non-Jews (Acts 9:1-19). Paul set out immediately to bear witness to the resurrected Christ (Acts 9:20-22), and was later commissioned and sent out by the Church in Antioch (along with Barnabas) unto the work the Holy Spirit cut out for them (Acts 13:1-4). He had different companions at different times. The context of today’s text is from one of his missionary trips (as led by the Holy Spirit) with Silas to Philippi, a city in Macedonia (Acts 16:9-34).
Paul, in the name of Jesus, delivered a girl who bothered him for many days, through her utterances which were inspired by a spirit of divination. Her masters weren’t very pleased, made up some accusations and had Paul and Silas arrested, beaten with rods, their clothes ripped off them, and thrown into the innermost part of the prison (the dungeon). Paul and Silas resorted to prayer and praises. They could have prayed this way:
“Oh God, how dare they and why did You let them?! You have all power and can do all things. Why would you let these people beat us up like common criminals, strip our clothes off, lock us in the innermost prison with our feet in stocks, just because we did what Jesus said we should, cast out demons in His name?!”
I don’t think they did however; I believe their prayers was not about bemoaning their situation because they went straight to praising God thereafter. The point of today’s post (took long enough 🙈) is the effect of their prayer and singing praises to God: an earthquake resulted that shook the prison foundations, opened all prison doors and broke the chains off ALL PRISONERS!
God did not arrange for Paul and Silas to be arrested under false accusation. However, I believe He let it happen and used it for greater glory: the prisoners witnessed a demonstration of God’s power, whereas the jailer and His family received salvation (Acts 16:25-34).
You may be in an unpleasant situation where, frankly, you’d rather not be, especially if ‘following God got you there’. You may be tempted to bemoan the situation and go, ‘God, this was not part of the deal‘. God may not be the cause of the situation, but since He let it happen, you can trust Him through the process to bring greater good out of it. Someone somewhere, or multitudes might sometime in the future, be set free from what you’ve learnt during certain seasons in your life.
Please don’t hurry out of such situations, but allow yourself to learn what God’ll have you learn. God has the capacity to give you your “Midnight Miracle for All”.
God bless you🙂
© Lydia Ndagilaya for PneumaWord
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