Praising in Prison

I woke up late this morning, so I didn’t have my usual Bible-and-coffee time. But lately, my days just aren’t as good if I don’t start them with the Word. So I read Acts 16:16-24 from my phone on a shuttle to my class. 

Paul and Silas are beaten and thrown in prison for removing an evil spirit from a clairvoyant slave girl, who was bringing her owners a nice profit with her “gifts.” The slave owners brought Paul and Silas before the magistrate, accusing them of false teaching because they were inconvenienced by their ministry. (Sound familiar?)

Because of the gospel, Paul and Silas were slandered, brutally beaten, and thrown in prison. But what is most striking about this story is how they respond to their circumstances: they sang hymns and praised God.

When I put myself in their shoes, I don’t see praise coming easily. I see fighting doubt and resentment, wondering if I have been forsaken. But those of us who know how the story ends know that Paul and Silas were set free, and God worked everything out for their good and His glory. 

That is why we, as Christians, are free to praise in prison. God has promised to work all things together for our good and His glory, and our God keeps His promises. While our mortal bodies can be chained and beaten, our souls remain eternally free because of what Jesus did for us. Let us live unafraid to sacrifice anything for the gospel, because in the light of eternity, all we can do is gain.

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