Celebrate in Suffering

Thursday, January 12, 2012 Posted by Debbie Legg

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The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods.  After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:22-25)

My reaction every time I read this is, “They did WHAT?  Are you KIDDING ME?  I mean, the praying I can understand if it’s, ‘Lord get me the heck OUT of here!’  And singing hymns?  You mean like Psalm 10, where David sings, ‘Call the evildoer to account for his wickedness,’ right?”  

That would be me in that situation, but not Paul and Silas.  They were worshiping and praising God.  They were celebrating.  

WHAT could there be in this circumstance to celebrate?   I get the feeling Paul and Silas may have been the originators of one the best pieces of advice I have ever received: “When you can’t praise God for what He does, praise Him for Who He Is.” 

When we praise God we regain perspective.  We sense the larger story and the sovereignty of The Author.  We remember the majesty, the love, the truth, the provision, the healing, the comfort, the protection, the wisdom, the strength, the hope, the power, the grace of The One Who Saves Us.

Paul and Silas celebrated Jesus, and look what happened.  The rest of the story involves an earthquake, a busted jail, a family saved, and some sheepish government officials.  

What if the next time we are imprisoned by circumstances that we didn’t choose, we choose to celebrate Jesus?   What prisons might be destroyed?  Best of all, who might be saved? 

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