Have you ever been in a situation where the unthinkable happened? When I was 18 I worked on a Christian ship and along our journey, the unthinkable happened. Because a few people wanted money- the captain, the owner, and the first mate were arrested, interrogated, and pressured to give ransom money. I brought food to them one night as we waited to see how God would get us out of trouble and that was the first night I was physically attacked. I remember thinking that this was how I was going to die as 5 men punched and kicked me. Then as suddenly as it started, it stopped and I was sent on my way. As I walked back to the ship scared, confused, and hurt; all I could do was talk to God, thank him for my life, and ask him to protect us.
To be honest my pain was pretty minor to what Paul and Silas faced in their travels preaching the Gospel and discipling people in Philippi. We are told in Acts 16:23 that, “After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.” They were persecuted unjustly and then beaten severely. Yet something astounding happened, Paul and Silas prayed and sang to the Lord (V. 25)!!! They did not complain, scream for a fair trial, or fight back- they praised God! This is amazing because in the midst of pain, praise arose. Imagine what must have been happening in the hearts of the other prisoners, in the guards, and anyone else who could hear.
Of course, God responded in a way that only God could, he had an earthquake come and shake with such force that the prisoner’s chains and cells became free (V. 26). The pain of Paul and Silas became a life-changing moment for all who were there because of God’s handiwork. God used Paul and Silas’s pain and praise to save the jailer and his whole household (v. 29-34). God uses everything so people can meet Jesus and be saved.
You might be in the midst of pain, it might not seem fair, it might not make sense, and it’s at times like those we need to talk to God. We need him to help us see and trust him, so even in the midst of pain (physical, emotional, or any other), there can be praise. If you need help or someone to talk to, please call. We are here to walk alongside you.
Pastor Jeremy Johnson