“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,” Acts 16:25
I read this verse today and the word “midnight” seemed to jump out at me. I feel like God told me in that moment that we have to be willing to pray and sing even through the “midnight” hour of our despairing times when we are waiting for something.
There is more to think about and remember if we continue on reading…
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.” Acts 16:25-34
I think another good message to receive from these verses is how even in their imprisonment Paul and Silas were ministering and spreading the Gospel of Christ. I don’t know about you but my tendencies would have been to run when the doors came open. Yet, they stayed and everyone with them and because of their faith and their integrity they were able to lead the jailer and his whole family to Christ.
Notice what happens next… Not only did the Lord reward them with getting them out of jail but the scripture says “the same hour” the jailer cleaned their wounds and fed them after he and his entire household had believed and were baptized at once. I think that is of itself interesting. Not only were Paul and Silas’ blessed with release because of their integrity but their blessings were multiplied at the very same time.
I think this is good to remember when we are waiting in times of hardship and suffering. We just need to keep praying and singing, keep looking to God for our rescue and help. Just when our despair reaches midnight and we’re about to give up is when we need to bolster ourselves and keep going. Then when God does show up, we need to have integrity and instead of running from that suffering in our lives we need to have the integrity to share the testimony of His rescue with those around us as a witness to the love of Christ. In that moment we need to be sensitive to those who are seeking salvation.
Plus, you never know, maybe God plans on multiplying our blessing if we will have the integrity not to rush out of that suffering at the moment that the chains fall away and the doors open for our escape.
Are you praying and singing even though it’s almost “midnight”? Are you ready and willing to stay for a moment when the chains fall and the doors open to share Jesus with those around you? I don’t know if you’re like me but I’ve been in this place for a very long time. I want out! I want to be rescued! But, there are souls around me who need Jesus. Some may not be saved, others may need to be encouraged in their times of despair and need. My faith in God has put a love and compassion in my heart for those around me. When that time comes, I will wait, just a little longer so that I can share with those people. Not because I’m expecting something greater but because they need Jesus just as much as I do, they need rescue in their own lives. What will you do?
Most High Living God, I love You and I thank you for giving me this unlikely message today. Give us the strength to persist, give us the courage and integrity to stay behind for just a moment to share of Your great love and the Gospel of Christ with those who need it. In that moment give those people the desire to know you just like the jailer fell at Paul and Silas’ feet asking how to be saved. God, remind us that these circumstances that we are enduring aren’t just about us, they are about others as well. We know that You would never make us to suffer on purpose but acknowledge that You work through the suffering that we’re in for our good and to bring others to Yourself. Give us compassion and love for those around us and willing hearts to stay behind in that moment that You free us to share with them so that they might know You as well. Father, I ask you know as the clock strikes midnight for quite a few of us in our suffering that You would send the rescue that we’ve been waiting on. We deeply desire to see Your glory and to worship You for it. I ask these things in the precious name of Jesus. AMEN