“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25 NIV84)
To say that Paul and Silas had a rough day would be an understatement. Their day began with a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit that allowed her to prophesy. She was following Paul and Silas around continuously, stating that they were men from God who were sharing the message of salvation. She disrupted their ministry to the point that Paul exorcized the spirit within her. As soon as her masters realized that her “gift” was gone they had Paul and Silas drug out before a mob who wanted them dead. Paul and Silas were beaten and flogged and put in prison until the next day. I think we could all agree that was a really rough day.
If it were me, I would be wallowing in self-pity for all the suffering I had endured for doing what was right. I mean, Paul and Silas were treated like criminals, when all they did was do the work of God. And now they sat in a jail cell beaten and flogged. Who would have blamed them for being angry with God? We would all understand if it was recorded that they lamented that night about all of their suffering. But that is not what happened! Our text for today tells us that Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns all night. They worshiped and praised God even though they had been treated the way they had. How is this possible? What allowed them to be in this state of mind? It was the attitude of their heart. Their lives were so focused on the ministry of the kingdom of God that they were willing to experience anything, even suffering, for what they were doing. They believed and trusted that God could work through their bad times as well as He did through their good times. How about you and me? Do we believe that? We need to have the same attitude in our hearts as Paul and Silas had. We need to praise God through the good and the bad. We need to trust that He can — and will — work His will in and through all the circumstances we face in this life.