Acts‬ ‭16:22-40‬ ‭NIV
‬‬“The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.”
Observation-What does it say?
Paul and Silas had just been beaten and severely flogged wrongfully, yet they responded in faith, with joy and worship.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Even through a difficult circumstance, they remembered that God was good and never lost faith.

How we respond to difficult circumstances is what will determine our joy. Joy was not based on circumstances for these men. Their joy was found in the Lord.

Life Application

Give your difficult situation over to Jesus and draw comfort from Him.

A whole household was saved because of Paul and Silas’ surrender and obedience to the Lord and their refusal to allow their circumstances to determine and define their joy. They knew Who their ultimate protector and redeemer was and put their hope in God instead of men. Also, they ended up encouraging more brothers and sisters in the faith after being released from prison.

What difficult situation are you facing today that you need to give over to the Lord in prayer and worship?
If you are in a good place right now, who can you think of to encourage in the Lord through their difficult circumstance? What has the Lord brought you through and comforted you with in the past that can be a comfort and encouragement to another person? Remember, after Paul and Silas were released from prison, “they went to Lydia’s house to meet with the brothers and sisters and encourage them.” (Verse 40)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your goodness. Thank You that no matter what we face, we can be encouraged that You are ultimately in control of the situation and therefore need not fear for our future. I pray that You would restore our joy in You as we respond to difficult situations in prayer and worship. I also pray that as we draw comfort from You, we would be able to comfort others going through hard times, for Your Word says that You are the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort and we would be able to comfort those with the same comfort we have received from You (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Amen.

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-Michelle Gaddi