Imagine yourself in a situation. You have just been thrown in prison for commanding an evil spirit to come out of a girl. Your buddy and you are then beaten, and thrown into prison with your feet bound. In pain, unable to sleep, you start to sing songs to the Lord at midnight. All the prisoners around you are listening. Then, all of a sudden, a great earthquake shakes the whole prison and every ones bonds, including yours, are unfastened!
Now...question. If you were in the shoes of these men, do you think you would worship the Lord after a beating and being put in a prison cell? And then when the earthquake hit, do you think you would see that as God’s provision for release? Don’t you think even a few of those prisoners would’ve made a mad dash for the door? In Acts 16:25-34 you can read the entire story. And believe it or not, not one of the prisoners or Paul and Silas tried to escape. These guys, in their moment of suffering, worshiped the Lord and it was a witness to the other prisoners. Not only was it a witness to them, but when the prison guard (who had fallen asleep during his shift, oops!) awoke and saw the doors open, assumed all had escaped and was ready to kill himself. Paul called out to him and said, “Don’t hurt yourself, we are all here”. They were then able to present the gospel to the jailer and his family! What an amazing story! These guys, in that moment, knew God had a plan, and it wasn’t an escape.
Are we still seeking for opportunities to be witnesses for Christ when the day gets ugly, or people are treating us poorly? Or do we just get upset, give up, and feel sorry for ourselves? Do we see the trials as curses, when God’s plan could be blessings and lives saved for eternity? We need to walk in faith and trust that He will make things (that could be terribly painful in your life) work out for good! Let’s be people who live in prayer, moment by moment, ready to love and share when opportunities arise.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
“Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15