I’d like to tell you a story today about two men who were in the throes of desperate and tragic circumstances. They were even in the ministry … telling others about Jesus Christ … and yet they were not immune to trauma and disappointment. If you would like to, you can read their story in Acts 16:22-30.
Paul and Silas, two of the New Testament disciples, had been beaten by an unruly and angry mob until they were bruised and bleeding. Their clothes had been violently torn from their bodies and they were sorely in need of medical attention. Paul and Silas, these two great men of God who were traveling the ancient world proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, were thrown into a Roman prison and their feet were locked into stocks.
A Roman prison was a place of nearly instant mental illness; it only took a few nights in this fetid, black place to lose one’s mind. Set down in the belly of the earth, an ancient prison was a place that reeked of urine and vomit. Prisoners received only one meal per day that consisted of moldy bread accompanied by tepid, dirty water that had already been used for other, unmentionable things.
Every time that a guard would bring food, he would make sure to kick the prisoner in a place that it would do the most damage and bring the most pain. Roman prisoners would sit in their own excrement day after endless day. And then there were the varmints and insects that continually crawled over the body of a prisoner. Spiders would crawl in and out of the prisoner’s nostrils while rats roamed freely across other private areas of the prisoner’s unprotected body.
“But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God …” – Acts 16:25
At about midnight, in this Roman prison, when most people would choose to give up in despair and sink into depression, Paul and Silas found joy! They discovered it in the putrid smell of prison and in the dank and damp of hopelessness. They discovered joy with their feet bound in purposeless and in the sewage of their own existence.
Paul and Silas chose to worship Jesus at the very worst moment of their life. Paul and Silas found joy! Now … what’s your excuse?!
As Christians, we have a responsibility … yes … a divine duty even … to meet the very worst that life offers with a joy that is defiant!
When you choose to break out into unrestrained worship at the midnight hour of your life, watch out! Heaven may begin to rock the foundations of your life in order to set you free from the circumstances that bind you.
MAKING IT PRACTICAL –
1 – Make an entry in your “Thanksgiving in January and February!” list with 3 blessings that you recognize as being from the hand of the Father. Don’t forget – others want to hear what you are thankful for as well so mention them on Twitter or on Facebook with a #beatdepression!
2 – What is your favorite worship song? If you don’t have a copy of it, find it on “YouTube”, on “Pandora Radio” or on Spotify and listen to it at least one time. Let the word of the music roll over your soul and encourage you in the Lord. Now … listen to it again and sing along and lift your hands in worship. There … didn’t that feel good?!
I declare that today, no matter how black my circumstances seem, that like Paul and Silas I will sing! I rejoice in You, today, Father and give You my highest praise!
PRAYER FOR TODAY –
“Father God, I love You so very much today. Thank You that I can lift my voice and my hands in worship to You. I thank You that as I worship, the chains of depression and despondency are being broken in my life. I thank You that You are ushering me into a new day of joy and gladness and rejoicing! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”