About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns
to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)
Bleeding and maimed from the current day’s beating, Paul and Silas sat in the dark inner cell of a prison. Despite their pain and anguish, they began to sing out hymns of praise to their God while the other prisoners listened. About midnight, a great earthquake shook the whole foundation, opening the prison doors and loosening their chains. (See Acts 16:16-40)
Paul and Silas could have said, “Woe is me,” but instead decided to praise God
in the midst of their trial. Despite their pulsating wounds, they praised the One who was worthy of praise.
What happened when those men began to praise their God? Their chains fell off and they were set free.
Many times, we can be in a prison without bars or walls. It can be a prison of the mind without even realizing it. It can be a prison of bondage with doors shut so tightly we may think they’ll never be unlocked.
As I went through some very dark days of trial of my own, I found that as I praised God through my pain and turmoil, He began to bring me out. That is what it means to offer up a sacrifice of praise – to praise God when we don’t feel like it. As I praised God and gave thanks in the midst of my trial and pain, He was glorified and honored. I was then healed over a period of time. We must praise God at all times, not only when things are going well. The Psalmist David wrote:
I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Ps. 34:1)
We can feel so broken inside that we may have to use up a whole box of tissues on our tears, but keep in mind that our tears are precious to God and are stored in a bottle in heaven. (Ps. 56:8) If our tears are that precious to God, then I feel certain that our praise is captured and recorded in heaven as well. When we praise God when we’re going through turmoil, He will come down in a mighty way to bless and help His people.
Recently I was going through another struggle and cried out to God using the following Scriptures as a prayer:
Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. (Ps. 71:12) But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. (Ps. 71:14)
Jesus was sent to help us and we can rejoice in the midst of the trial that we have the very One who knew trial, pain and persecution. He was sent to bind up the brokenhearted and to comfort all who mourn and He will comfort us and dry our tears. (Is. 61:1-3)
Several weeks ago, I had a very vivid dream and could see my bed and sensed that I was in it fast asleep. As I watched, I could see faintly the form of a man dressed in a long, white robe. Even though I could not see His face, I knew it had to be Jesus. I could see Him bending over me as if to perhaps touch my face or smooth my hair.
Our Lord is with us through the dark hours of the night to comfort us as we sleep. I wonder how many times has He wiped away a tear or touched a fevered brow without us being aware of it? If we could see with our spiritual eyes, we would see what compassion our Lord has for each of us when we’re troubled and hurting.
Be comforted in the fact that God is with you and knows your every struggle. He knows when your heart is broken. He knows when a loved one has left you. He knows how devastating it is when a child leaves home, no matter what the reason. God knows and understands everything we must endure and cares. Praise God and rest assured that He will give you peace even in the midst of your trial.
For He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. (Ps. 72:12)
Father, I come before You and praise You for helping us in the midst of our trials. Through it all You are with us. You have never forsaken us one time. We’ve been unfaithful many times, but you have stuck with us closer than any brother. Lord we honor you with our mouths and sing praises to You just as Paul and Silas did. We may not be in a literal prison Father, but our prison may be in our minds. I lift up my brothers and sisters and ask that You touch their lives like they’ve never been touched before. Reach Your mighty hand down from Your lovely Throne Room and help those who are going through desperate times, who have no one to turn to or feel deserted or forsaken. We lift up praise to You and thank You in advance for helping us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.