In and Out of the Dungeon

Beloved, the Lord desires to teach us many things in this Christian walk.  I personally don’t think many lessons are as hard to learn as learning to praise God (along with patience) in a situation that looks hopeless and that has come upon us by no real fault of our own – it simply “is what it is.”

Acts 16: 20 – 25; 20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

In our above text we read of our two dear brothers (Paul and Silas), who are sitting in prison after being accused of ‘starting trouble’.  Although falsely accused they were thrown into prison.  Many times in life we are faced with false accusations, adverse circumstances that make no sense, trials and hardships that seemed to come out of nowhere, events that have led to loss of jobs or companies struggling, marriages that seem to be going in two different directions, or a multitude of other things.  Many times you have prayed and sought God and wondered “what’s the point, nothing seems to be changing?”  Beloved the point is this; just maybe there is a lesson being taught as well as the foundation being laid for God to get the glory and someone’s life being changed or blessed because of what you are going through.

Learning to depend and rely on God with a right attitude, while waiting for the manifestation of His plan and purpose is a lesson that only comes through trials and the corrective molding hand of our Lord.  Paul and Silas after being falsely accused, beaten, thrown into a damp, dark cell, with open wounds that haven’t been washed; their feet shackled and chained, had learned to refuse to let their circumstances determine their attitude (notice the words “had to learn”).  At what had to be a confusing, painful, shocking, “What the heck is going on Lord?”, time in their life they began to  pray and sing hymns of praise to God.  The bible records this powerful revelation at the end of verse 25: “…and the prisoners were listening to them.”  Mighty God – Mighty God, oh that we would see past ourselves, learn the lessons you are teaching, and watch Your purpose and plan unfold for Your glory and the blessing of others. 
Beloved be encouraged today. Make a decision to say; “Thank You Lord.  I don’t understand, but Thank You Lord.  I’m hurting right now, but Thank You Lord.  I’m confused, but Thank You Lord.  I’m scared and my faith is shaken, but Thank You Lord.  My attitudes not so good right now, but Thank You Lord.”  I am reminded of David in Psalm 27:13 when at a low point in his life that seemed to make no sense to him, and had him at the point of depression with the thought of giving up,  declared with praise: “I would  have lost heart (given up), unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  My blessed brothers and sisters, you will see the goodness of the Lord in whatever it is that you are going through.  Be like David and trust in His faithfulness, like Paul and Silas who learned not to let their circumstances dictate their attitude or actions; and above all, say: “Thank You Lord”..  Even when you’re not saying it full of zeal and passion – say it anyway; it will change your heart and in the right moment of God’s time change your circumstances (read the rest of chapter 16).


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