Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
The picture here is clear. Luke specifies in verse 23 that they had been “severely” flogged, and their feet were in stocks. They doubtless had too much pain and too little comfort to sleep, so what did they do? They prayed and sang praises! No wonder the other prisoners were listening to them! This was, frankly, a supernatural response by Paul and Silas to their circumstances, but at the same time it was their choice. As came out in the reading two days ago, it was a matter of focus. Rather than focusing on their pain and discomfort, they chose to focus on the Lord, who had loved them enough to die for them and, by rising from the grave, had given them assurance of eternal salvation. That shift in focus was enough to enable them to act in a way that certainly didn’t seem natural to the other prisoners at the very least! The events were dramatic enough that they brought the salvation of the jailer and his household by faith, as the following verses tell. I wouldn’t be surprised if the other prisoners likewise committed to this God that Paul and Silas followed. The thing is, people are watching us whether we are aware of it or not. When we choose to cling to Christ and praise Him as Paul and Silas did, they will be deeply impressed and want to know why and how, as Peter wrote about in his first letter. (1 Peter 3:15) That is the most effective evangelism!
This is close to home not because of my own suffering, but that of my wife. She has a list of physical difficulties that would cause most people to give up, but she has certainly not done that, and it seems that my response to her situation has been impressive to some people as well. We are being given training in focus, in letting Jesus be Lord regardless of our circumstances. That frankly isn’t always easy even for me, when I’m not the one experiencing the pain. However, as Paul famously wrote, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Responding to circumstances the way Paul and Silas did is indeed supernatural, but that’s what God’s all about! I am not to be anxious about how I will respond to the next trial, because God’s already got it covered. As He has told me, I am to rest, relax, and rejoice, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. You know how far I still have to go in this! Help me keep making progress, pressing in further to You, allowing You to transform me into the likeness of Your Son, (2 Corinthians 3:18) for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!