“Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.
Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway, when Paul stopped him: “Don’t do that! We’re all still here! Nobody’s run away!”
The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. He led them out of the jail and asked, ‘Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?’ They said, ‘Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!'” (Acts 16:25-35).
Today at The Church at Avenue South, Matthew Page preached on the passage where Paul and Silas sang hymns in prison. I wonder if I could do that, especially if I were behind bars for something I didn’t do.
Matthew spoke about how they lived a questionable life, as in a life that led people to ask questions about what kind of men they were and why they lived the way they did.
The most powerful part of their witness was being able to sing praise songs in a prison cell. That more than anything captured the attention of not only the fellow prisoners but of the prison guard as well.
I wonder if the earthquake would have happened if Paul and Silas has remained silent. Or if they had chosen instead to make a laundry list of all the wrongs and injustices inflicted upon them. Maybe. Maybe not.
The result was that a prison guard and his entire family came to faith in the Jesus that Paul and Silas sang about. Some scholars think that the other prisoners converted to Christianity as well.
Matthew went on to talk about being in the ER with a family whose daughter was near death. The prognosis was grim but some of those there with the family broke out singing hymns.
Do you sing as loud during the dark as well as during daylight? Do you praise God during the hard times when life doesn’t make sense? Does your speech reflect gratitude and thanksgiving in the midst of extreme trials and tribulations?
There was a doctor in that ER that eventually chose to follow Jesus because he saw what he couldn’t understand. He had probably seen people rage and curse at God but he had most likely never seen people worshipping through tears in the midst of tragedy.
By the way, the girl miraculously survived.
I won’t say that every time you praise Jesus, everything will automatically turn out the way you want it to, but I will say worship will change the way you see your circumstances.
It was convicting. Maybe I need a little more praise and a little less anxious analysing.
As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.