Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Giving God Praise in the Trials

Remember the story in the book of Acts when Paul and his buddy, Silas, were thrown into prison and an earthquake caused the prison doors to open? That Bible story has always fascinated me, especially after I heard a song based on this story. [Here's a link to the song if you're interested: "Jailhouse Rock" by Farrell and Farrell.]

These guys were dedicated to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, but life wasn't going so well at the moment. People got really mad at Paul and Silas and they were tossed into prison. I think the thing that always fascinated me was the fact that the prisoners didn't run when they could have! If I were in that situation I certainly would have tried to escape.

Here's the scene:

Paul and Silas Acts 16: 25-30
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Another thing that is really fascinating about this story that I never picked up on until a few years ago was the fact that they were singing praise songs in their time of trouble! What an example these two missionaries are for me.

Paul and Silas had absolutely no sane reason to be singing praise songs in their situation. They did it anyway. God moved mightily on their behalf. Their response? They didn't try to escape from their current problem. Their decision to stay was a witness to others and allowed them to lead the jailer to Christ.

Giving God praise and thanks in those hard times is something He's been teaching me. When I feel like grumbling or escaping, I've been reminded to sing His praises. It's not easy to do and it's definitely not the first thing I think of. But, I trying to...

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. (The Doxology)

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