Being beaten, mistreated and unjustly thrown in the inner prison. Paul and Silas began to hold a praise and worship service in the midst of their dirty depressing accommodations. I am not sure that’s the response most people would have in these chaotic circumstances. Being wrongly accused and treated in such a despicable manner, I think most people would be crying with anguish, threaten to sue somebody or even change their occupation. But to have a devoted worship set in the midst of such trouble blows my mind! When things are crashing around us its usually not the time for worshipping our Lord, or is it?
In this story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16:23-35, we are given some real insight for how we should respond in seasons of turmoil and trouble in our lives. They had all the elements for a good blues song or even country song. But chose to focus on their
Responding in seasons of turmoil and trouble with Praise to God! (tweet)
“Lover of their Soul” their savior Jesus! That very act shows that they were completely confident in Jesus’ leadership in their lives. Now remember that they had been divinely directed to come where they were at in a night visitation. They ministered the Gospel to Lydia and her household who received them and the message open armed.
Anytime we are willing to be lead and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit the enemy will bring distraction and opposition, as we see in this story. Not all individuals want the message of the Gospel to interfere with their agendas. Some people are being directed and even for a time seem successful doing things completely contrary to the plan of God. When Paul and Silas brought a message of hope to the slave girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination, she was set free. This act of mercy and restoration was perceived as a destructive and negative plot against the businessmen whom owned the slave girl and profited from her bondage. These men stirred up the community against them saying they brought trouble to the city. This landed those who brought help and healing to the community, in jail after being beaten.
Yet, they were so trusting in God’s purposes that they turned the bad circumstances to lifting up the name of Jesus. This wasn’t some under the breath mumbling but was loud enough to wake the sleeping. It caught the attention of not only those around them, but heaven’s ear. In response God began to shake the foundations of all that were in imprisoned. Chains and shackles fell off and prison doors opened. When Paul and Silas lifted their voices in praise the heavens opened and God began to turn the circumstances around. Not only were there physical changes, but hearts were changed and all of those around were impacted. The jailer, as
Choosing to Praise God in the Midst of the Chaos (tweet)
well as his family came to know Jesus as the savior. What seemed to be chaos was turned to be a place of peace when worship began to take place. In Psalms 22:3 it lets us know God inhabits the praises of His people.
To often we allow our surroundings to dictate our actions and distract us. Yet, the scriptures exhort us to do just the opposite in Heb. 13:15. Even when we don’t feel like it we are exhorted to bring a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving from our lips. I am sure Paul and Silas weren’t feeling physically like praising, but they chose to worship. Through that God came on the scene and change the bad into a great victory. Let’s choose to be people of praise!