And I can hear the ground shake beneath us as the prison walls cave inAnother in the Fire, Bethel Worship
Paul was quite a guy. He’d had what you might call a radical conversion to Christianity where he went from enemy number one to the author of most of the New Testament. It’s a pretty crazy story, but I’m not telling that one today. (You can find it in Acts 9, if you’re interested.)
Anyway, a few years later he was traveling the known world, telling people about Jesus, when this poor possessed slave girl just wouldn’t leave him alone. She, or rather, the spirit inside of her, kept yelling at him. For days. He eventually got fed up with all the yelling, as I’m sure it was more than a little bit distracting and detracting from his message. So he commanded the spirit in the name of Jesus to shut up and
dance err, to leave. It did.
As you can imagine, her masters were more than a little ticked off when they found out that their fortune-telling, money-making slave girl had been silenced and the cash had stopped flowing.
They were pretty big wigs in their town and got everyone riled up against Paul and his buddy, Silas. So much so, in fact, that they had them thrown into the darkest pit of the prison, complete with leg shackles.
If this happened to me and one of my besties, I’m pretty sure we’d be lying in the corners crying. But not these guys. Nope. They spent the night praying and singing hymns to God.
Did you catch that? Their circumstances were horrible. They’d been stripped naked, beaten and chained to dungeon walls. They were probably going to die awful, painful deaths in the morning. But instead of giving up, they gave up only praise.
And God delivered. About midnight a massive earthquake hit the prison. The doors flew open and the chains of every prisoner fell off.
The guard was so distraught, thinking his prisoners had escaped that he was ready to kill himself. But just as he reached for his sword, a voice rang out, “Stop! We’re all here! We’re all here!”
Paul and Silas hadn’t taken the chance to run away from their problem. Instead they took the chance to share the good news of Jesus with their jailer.
Ya’ll, this is so what I want to do. What I’m hoping I’m doing. What is so hard but so good. What keeps me kickin’ on the worst of days.
This is hard. There are a lot of days I’d rather just curl up in a ball and cry. Sometimes I do. But almost every day I sing. I sing because laying down and dying isn’t an option. Because God is still good, even when I’m chained to a wall and don’t feel like I can go another minute. Because when I sing praises, the walls fall and the chains break and I am free.