Wow. The new year walked in the door, bringing a trial in on its coat tails. Not what I expected, but it was what the Lord ordained. As I considered my trial, the Lord “just happened” to allowed me to be reading in the book of Acts. As I read chapter 16, I noticed Paul and Silas’ response to their imprisonment – simply by their gestures. Body posture can often reveal a person’s emotions and heart response. Consider what emotions are often connected with:
- Wringing hands
- Crossed arms
- Tapping foot
- Pacing back and forth
On the other side consider these actions:
- Folded hands
- Lifted arms
- Sitting quietly
Read the passage below and imagine how Paul and Silas might look as this is happening:
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.
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.
What was their response to their imprisonment?
- They sat, rather than squirmed. If their feet were in stocks, they couldn’t move about much, but you don’t read of them trying to get up. Instead they were sitting – showing acceptance of their new place of ministry! When we’re in a trial that takes us somewhere different – a hospital, a new home, a different church or relationship, we need need to sit still and accept this as where God wants us right now. He is sovereign and He could have changed it, but He didn’t. Therefore, I need to sit in acceptance.
- They sang, rather than sassed. Singing doesn’t often come from people who are annoyed or mad. Think about it – when was the last time you were angry about something that a song filled your heart? So, when Paul and Silas sang, it shows us their trust in God’s abilities. They knew God was doing something unusual and mighty! We don’t see them shaking their finger at God and accusing Him. It takes faith to sing when you’re in a trial, but it is always the correct response, as modeled for us here.
- They Stayed, rather than sprinted. Paul and Silas could have booked it out of that jail when the earthquake opened the doors, but they didn’t. How often when a trial comes do I want to run for it! Let’s just pretend this isn’t happening! But when we stay there – stay faithful, stay true to God, stay leaning on His strength, mighty things can happen! The jailer came to Christ because they stuck around! Who might turn to the Savior because they see our steadfastness during our trial?
Oh, may we follow the example of these two godly men and
for the duration of our trial so that others will see Christ in us, and turn to Him, too!