“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed,” Acts 16:25-26 (KJV).
It was midnight and Paul and Silas had been put through the wringer so to speak. They had been publicly humiliated and beaten. Now they found themselves in prison chains, but what they chose to do changed everything. Instead of having a pity party at midnight, when their situation seemed most dire, they chose to worship.
As a result of that worship and prayer we can see that it moved the heart of God and the foundation of the prison was shaken, doors were opened and everyone’s bands fell off. Note that only Paul and Silas worshipped, but everyone’s bands (chains) fell off. It not only affected their situation, but every prisoner was set free that night.
It’s easy to sing praises to God when all is going well but how will you react in the midst of the darkest hour of your life? Will you complain, blame and make excuses or will you praise God with your whole heart? Worshipping God is what we, as His children, are called to do no matter the circumstances.
The bible give us many examples of individuals who chose to worship in their darkest midnight. One of the best examples is Job, who lost everything; even his own children. Yet his response to God was not one of bitterness but of praise. “…Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” Job 1:21 (KJV).
I’ve had the opportunity to experience this on a very personal level recently. The past two weeks have been the darkest hour in my family’s life and we had to make a decision how we were going to react to it. We lost a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and friend who was only 9 years old. The doctors and nurses thought that we were insane because we stood around her bed and worshipped the Lord after she had been declared brain dead. I’m sure that there were some who could not understand how we could stand around her casket at the funeral and worship. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised,” I Corinthians 2:14 (KJV). It would have been so much easier to blame God, but we chose to worship, because God is good all the time. His character does not change. There were days where it seemed so dark that I would cry out to Him that I can’t see me way through but I had to trust Him to guide me. Job 13:15 says it best. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (KJV). It’s not up to us to understand the situation or why things happen the way they do. It is up to us to give Him all the honor that He deserves.
Through our worship we may never know this side of heaven the chains and bondages that are broken. We just have to choose to trust that He will get the glory from every situation however He chooses to.
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