Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Lock and Key (08/21/14)
- TITLE: God Holds the Key
By Trudy Newell
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What a day it had been. Seeing the young slave girl freed from the evil spirit brought such joy. It’s fun to see God work. Paul and Silas expected the owners to be angry. Yet this outcome surprised them. They were Roman citizens, but they had been beaten and hailed without trial.
It was impossible to sleep cramped by the stocks. Their backs throbbed. Every time they moved congealed blood cracked and oozed from the wounds.
Paul and Silas prayed together. Time stood still. They talked about God’s greatness, and quoted verses of encouragement to each other.
Shortly before midnight Silas suggested, “Let’ sing!”
Together Paul and Silas lifted their voices in Psalm 100, then another, then another. The prisoners listened, astonished. Why were they singing at a time like this? Soon they had something else to consider.
“What’s that?” someone asked.
A rumble blended with the voices. The ground shook! The dark dungeon rocked as locks broke and stocks fell apart. It only lasted a minute, but the earthquake would cost the Roman government a pile of money!
Standing in the rubble the prisoners realized they were no longer chained. Not only did the prisoners realize this, so did the jailor. A light flickered as he stumbled in to see what had happened. Paul knew well enough what he was thinking.
“Don’t hurt yourself!” he shouted, “we’re all here.”
Paul saw movement as the jailor put his sword away. He came to Paul and Silas trembling. Then he asked the life-changing question: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16.30
The answer for then and now: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…” Acts 16:31
What rejoicing as Paul and Silas saw the jailor and his whole family trust Christ. The jailor fed the two prisoners, now cleaned up and bandaged, as they continued to talk about the things of the Lord.
In the morning the magistrates sang a different song when they found out that they had beaten two Roman citizens without trial. They wound up giving them a royal escort from the prison.
As I consider this prison account, I’m reminded of the sovereignty of God.
Paul knew the Roman jail system well. I’m sure he didn’t enjoy his prison experiences, but I also get the idea that except for the ‘inconvenience’ he wasn’t particularly bothered. He knew that God’s Word was not bound, and that God’s purposes could not be hindered. How I need that bold confidence!
Am I allowing Satan to put me in bondage: Bondage to fear; bondage to self; bondage to pride; bondage to anger? Satan is a master of deception. He is the father of lies. Who will I trust? “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I have friends who are locked in a body of pain and suffering that hinder them for functioning on a normal level. God is sovereign, and he has their best interests at heart. Others suffer because of the acts of other people. We live in a broken world with broken people. God is faithful, and he loves and cares about the deepest needs of our heart. Do I allow doubt to cloud the wonder of His goodness and His grace?
Right now as a couple, we are facing financial challenges. I remind myself that this is one of the easier problems for God to solve. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. I refuse to let life’s limitations lock me in. Placing our lives in the hands of a living, loving God makes all the difference. I can rest in His plan, knowing that He holds the key.
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