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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)

TITLE: Count All Things Joy
By Ruth Neilson


Silas was trying to sleep. He couldn’t find a comfortable position to rest since his ankles where in stockades and his back bruised and bleeding. He sighed and closed his eyes, resting his head against the rough stone wall, knowing that tomorrow would bring their salvation—one way or another.

He had almost dozed off, so close that Silas could almost see his dreams, and at first, he thought that the music that he heard was part of his dream.

Let the heavens rejoice...be glad;
let them say... "The LORD reigns!"

He fought a groan and slowly opened his eyes. Sure enough, his brother in Christ and current partner in ministry (and crime in this instance), Paul, had his eyes closed a smile on his face and was singing under his breath.

“My brother, what are you doing?” Silas muttered, rolling his head towards Paul. The younger man opened his eyes and grinned sheepishly.

“I couldn’t sleep, so I figured that I might as well spend my time doing something other than complaining about the trouble that we’ve gotten into this time.”

Silas grinned wider and muttered sarcastically. “Ya know, if you’re gonna sing, you might as well sing something at the top of your lungs so we can all enjoy it.”

Paul let out a laugh, which Silas knew had to hurt, but then grinned widely. “That’s a brilliant idea, Silas. Let’s let everyone here know how happy we are to be suffering for the name of Christ.”

Silas had settled down, hoping that somehow, Paul would sense the Silas’ desire to try to rest. “Wait, what?”

“C’mon, Silas, this was your idea...remember that Jesus had promised that we would be persecuted because of Him...we need to be proud because of this...”

Silas sighed. Paul had a point.

He swallowed faintly, licking his lips, suddenly wishing that he could have some water.

Paul was already singing, “The enemy’s been defeated, death couldn’t hold You down...”

Silas smiled; he realized that no matter what, he could find joy in Christ. “Shout unto God with a voice of triumph, shout unto God with a voice of praise...”

It soon became fun, Silas found himself smiling as he continued to sing, “We lift Your name up! We lift Your name up!”

Maybe his offhanded remark was a smart-aleck idea, to start with. But the more they prayed and the more they sang, the more Silas knew that this was what they were suppose to be doing. He closed his eyes as the song changed.

“God is great and His praise fills the earth fills the heavens. And Your name will be praised through all the world”

Silas continued to sing even as he heard fellow prisoners cursing them. “Why don’t y’all just go back to sleep before you git ‘nother beatin’, this time, from me.”

Silas just began clapping, ignoring the pulling tissue across his shoulder blades and the threats. They didn’t get far into the song when the jail began to shake around the men. Oddly, he felt calm. God was in complete control, no matter what end came to them. And for that, Silas was happy.

He could hear Paul continuing to sing at the top of his lungs. The words mingled with the panicked screams of other prisoners, including the one who threaten them. Around Silas, the walls shook themselves apart, but none of the stones fell on them.

The walls stopped moving, and Silas looked down. God was so good. They were free.

Paul was already up and moving to check on the other prisoners. Silas got up and headed the direction that the threats came from.

He was huddled in the corner; his mud-covered body was trembling in fear. “Wha’ manner of sorcery is this?” He whispered, looking up at Silas.

The sound of metal being pulled out of leather alerted Silas to the jailer’s presence before he could answer. “My life is worthless because all of the prisoners have escaped.”

Silas could hear Paul talking to the guard, so he knelt next to the trembling man and stated, “Not sorcery. Only the power of the one true God and I’d be happy to introduce you to Him.”
Based loosely from Acts 16:22-28
1 Chronicles 16:31
“Shout Unto God.” from Hillsong United’s Look to You
“God is Great.” From Hillsong United’s You are My World

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Member Comments
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Joanne Sher 07/21/07
You've got some great detail in here - I very much enjoyed this rendition of a familiar Bible story - a great one for this topic.
Dee Yoder 07/23/07
Who could be happier than prisoners who have been suddenly, and inexplicably set free? Good story based on this familiar scripture passage.
Betty Castleberry07/25/07
I always enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at Bible stories. This was an enjoyable read, and I like the "today" dialogue you gave Paul and Silas.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/25/07
"No matter what, he could find joy in Christ." This sentence in your story is a wonderful message. You gave us a good snapshot of Silas.
Sara Harricharan 07/25/07
Another great bible story retold! I like this. You bring the story alive and you kept this reader reading all the way through. Good job! ^_^
Kristen Hester07/25/07
You made this familiar story in the Bible come alive. I loved seeing Silas and Paul's personality and their relationship. Excellent.