There are so many aspects to this story, so many things. So let’s jump right back in. If you missed my last post, you can find it here.
Lets start again in Acts verse 25:
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard 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 every one’s bands were loosed.
And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
And when it was day, the magistrates sent the servants, saying, Let those men go.
And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.
But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.
And the servants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.
And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.
As they were singing, it said the other prisoners were listening to them. Did you catch that? As they were in prison, they were singing. As they were singing, the people around were listening.
What about us? We have people listening to us. There are other people in prison around us. Do they hear us singing or complaining? Do they other people in prison see us accepting the ‘prison’ we are in? Do others seeing us wishing for the way to open up for us to run out; or do they see us trusting God right where we are?
In verse 26 it says that the doors were open. They could have got away! God OPENED the door for them to run out. Yet they STAYED!! Can you imagine? There was a EARTHQUAKE. Surely that is a huge sign, I mean it was no doubt it was God! Yet they stayed!!
Why did they stay? They saw the death of someone about to happen. They stayed because there was someone to love. They stayed because they were right with God, they were not bitter anymore. They had accepted their prison. They knew it was time to stay and witness to the jailor.
They knew their prison was for a deeper purpose.
What about us? Sometimes we see a way out, We’ve been wishing to run away away from the problem; yet we know God is telling us to stay. He keeps telling us we are here for a reason. Sometimes we may even see an open door. That is when we have to go to Him and ask if we are supposed to go thru the open door.*
Sometimes He tells us to stay. Stay and witness to the jailer. Stay and sing for the other prisoners. Stay and share the love of Jesus.
There is something in my life right now, maybe in yours too, that feels like a prison. A few months ago, I was ready to run away. It wasn’t working for me; there are doors I could run out. I was angry, I was bitter, I was moping around. I was complaining. God kept telling me to stay. Stay. I went thru the stages of healing; I worked thru the anger, bitterness, disappointment, resentment. It was not easy. It was work and it took time; lots of time. Lots of pleading with Jesus to heal me.
I made it to the other side.
I realized I was where God wanted me to be.
As soon as I realized that and trusted Him enough to start singing and praise Him again;
I was NO longer in prison.
The circumstances had not changed. I had.
The things around me had not changed. I had.
I was free from that prison.
I was free from the bondage.
I was free to serve Jesus, just as He wants me to; without fear of the other prisoners, without fear of the jailor.
I pray, if you are in this place of prison that you can also find healing. I pray that you can work through the raw emotions that have come from the hurt you are crying over today. I pray that you can move past all the steps of anger, bitterness, hurt and resentment. I pray you can realize where God wants you to be. I pray you can find freedom in the prison you are in. I pray you can be free. Free to sing again. Free to Praise God again.
And just know, there are other prisoners waiting to hear your song. Waiting to hear your praises to the King. There is also a jailer waiting to be saved, by the witness of the love he sees in you.
* There are other times in Acts where God opened the prison doors and led the Apostles out. Read a post on that HERE. So I KNOW not everyone is to stay. I KNOW that every story is different. Every one of us needs to run to Christ and ask Him where we are each to be. So dear friend, if God told you to go- accept it, sing and praise Him. If God tells you to stay- accept it, sing and praise Him.
**Also, abuse is never a safe prison to stay in. I’m not talking about that here. I’m talking about circumstances, jobs, churches, certain stages of life.**