PRISONERS AND PRAISERS
As people, it’s normal for us to feel the need to directly address a bad situation. Go to war against wrong in whatever way we know. Sometimes that’s exactly what is necessary.
But, what if, more-often than not, our instinct reveals more humanness than holiness?
In the Bible book of Acts we read about two men who are imprisoned for good things they are doing for Christ. Matter of fact, they had just cast out an evil spirit in the Name of Jesus! Turns out the town’s reaction wasn’t exactly overwhelming gratitude…
22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
So, here are these two men, hot on the heels of a real-life spiritual healing and rather than the moment being celebrated, they end up incarcerated! Beaten. Bloody. Wronged.
This is the point lots of us would get loud. Not fair….not right….not going quietly!
But, in the midst of unexpected injustice we see a deep difference in Paul and Silas.
25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!
With wounds wide open, feet locked in stocks, these guys counteract human nature. They lift their voices, not to shout complaints, but to raise a praise. To sing of all things!
What a curious example. The result was remarkable. Not only does God show supernatural power that frees the ones worshiping Him, the chains fall off prisoners who are simply around the praisers!
What if we miss out on victories in our own lives AND the lives of those around us by looking to our own strength first? Fixating on the current need rather than seeking The Almighty on our knees. Trying to solve the issue at hand rather than taking time to lift our hands in prayer?
We’ve heard it said, “the best way to get through difficulty is to shift our attention from the problem, to the Problem Solver.” That’s what Paul and Silas showed us. It’s what we should show the world.
Let US be a head-lifting, perspective-shifting, life-giving, worship-opting kind of people! May we, the Church, always remember the life-saving power beckoned by our praise.