Singing In Prison
In Acts 16 we see Paul and Silas travelling to the area of Macedonia to share the gospel of Jesus. While in the city of Philippi, Paul casts a demon out of a slave girl and this upsets the girl’s owner because this ends his ability to make money with her. Paul and Silas find themselves in prison over this circumstance. In fact, they not only are put into prison but they are beaten with rods and have their flesh opened up in terrible wounds….all this for actually helping the girl, delivering her from a demon. Vs 24 tells us that Paul and Silas were put in the inner prison and their feet were fastened in the stocks. If this were you, what would you do? How would you respond to this turn of events? Here is how Paul and Silas respond: “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them.” Pretty amazing isn’t it? Paul and Silas are in prison, beaten for doing nothing wrong and they are singing hymns and praising God. I imagine they were singing something like this (to the tune of Amazing Grace). “Amazing God we love so much, that lands us now in jail. We did no wrong, but we sing this song, of a God who does not fail”. I won’t go into the second verse….
How can you sing and praise God in the midst of this suffering? I believe you can do this when you are totally convinced in the love and power of God and you are totally convinced that you belong to Him…He has absolutely authority and control over your life. When you are convinced that this is the God you serve, then when the difficult times come, you can still sing. What happens next is fascinating. God causes an earthquake which opens the prison doors but Paul and Silas and the other prisoners do not escape…perhaps Paul and Silas were an old version of Simon and Garfunkel and the other prisoners didn’t want to miss the rest of the concert? Or, more likely, they were impacted by the gospel that Paul and Silas were sharing, telling the story of Jesus, and they didn’t want to miss it. The jailer himself actually trusts in Jesus and his whole household is saved. This is an amazing example of how God can use His people in the midst of suffering. Singing in prison leads to salvation for the prisoners…and the jailer. That’s “time” worth doing!