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Fire in the Hole

“And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Acts 16:22-25

How would you feel if you came into a strange city, excited with a new message of hope for the people there, but just as things are beginning to go well, everything goes wrong? You know that it is the Lord who has brought you here, and you’ve done exactly what He has told you to do, and yet it seems that, instead of leading to success, it has lead to disaster. What happened?

All of a sudden, the city has exploded, screaming and yelling all sorts of unfounded accusations against you, none of which are even remotely true. What on earth did you do that was so wrong? You simply shared the Gospel with some of the folks in town when this demon-possessed woman starts following you everywhere, mocking you and causing all kinds of trouble. So when your patience came to an end, you turned and pointed at her, casting out the devils that were in her.

And now all this trouble has fallen upon you, not because you were causing trouble, but merely because this woman’s masters weren’t able to make a buck from her fortune telling any more. Excuse me, but did it not occur to them that it was God that cast out that demon, and not Paul? Of course, I don’t suppose that matters much when there’s money on the line.

So here’s Paul and Silas, not only getting tossed in jail, but beaten to a bloody pulp. Then, to make things worse, they are thrown into the deepest, nastiest part of the dungeon with their feet clamped into wooden stocks.

Did they wonder why God allowed this to happen to them? After all, they had been following what God had told them to do. Was this the price for their obedience? Did God abandon them? Was He busy somewhere else and forgot that they were stuck in prison? Why did God allow this to happen to them?

It was midnight. It had been a long day for these men, and it promised to be a long night. They had no promise of tomorrow and no hope for deliverance. They weren’t just tired – they were wasted, beaten, and done in – but they didn’t surrender to the exhaustion of their flesh or the cloud of discouragement that Satan tried to blanket them with. No, they grabbed hold of victory by faith, and regardless of what the outcome would be, they lifted their voices to the Heavens and praised the living God.

Can you imagine how tough that must have been? How easy it would have been to succumb to their exhaustion and just roll over and go to sleep. Worry about it in the morning. But they didn’t. In the darkness of that dank cell, they held up a light; smothered by a cloud of despair, they held up hope; and in the face of all adversity, they claimed victory. They didn’t just pray – they sang! They sang!

And guess what? The prisoners heard them.

When I stop and think about that verse, “…and the prisoners heard them”, I am encouraged that God sees through all darkness, past the circumstances of our lives, and into the consequences of a faith that reaches far beyond ourselves and places our destiny firmly into the hands of an Almighty God who not only watches over us, but has given us the grace to allow Him to use us for His glory.

They sang … and the prisoners heard them. I wonder if I could have had that same faith to let the joy of the Holy Ghost flow through me to sing in such a time as that.

But they sang, and an earthquake shook the foundations of that prison and loosed the bands of every prisoner that heard them.

That kind of faith in times of severe adversity, to not only trust God for whatever He has for you, but to sing a song of victory so that all the world can hear that there is nothing that can shake your trust in God, is the kind of faith that makes the earth to shake, that opens prison doors, and that looses the bands of those who are imprisoned by sin.

Brother Dale
dale@revivalfire.org

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