Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Singing At Midnight

Photo:  Courtesy Library of Congress
Midnight sun in Advent Bay, Spitzbergen, Norway

This week I have been discouraged.  I was spending time with the Lord this morning and here is what He showed me:

"But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened."
Acts 16:25-26

You may be familiar with this story from Acts.  Paul had just called out a demon from the slave-girl whose masters were profiting from her fortune telling.  The men, whose profits were gone as a result, seized Paul and Silas.  Without a public trial, they were beaten, imprisoned, and placed in stocks.  There was nothing fair or right about what happened.  Paul and Silas were doing the work of the Lord.  They were pursuing righteousness.  Following the course set for them, they were arrested and thrown in prison after being beaten.  I rather imagine, they endured it quietly, without hampering their witness.  However, at the end of the chapter, in verse 37, the truth was known.  They knew where their strength came from; Paul had just utilized the power of the Living God when he called out the demon from the slave girl.  

When they were bound in prison, surely their share of doubts came.  God, why don't you get us out of this?  Why are we in here Lord?  Don't you care?  You are the One that told us to come to this city and now we're in prison.  Do something.  Those would be my questions.  But we see something distinctively different in this story of Paul and Silas.  We see them praise at midnight.  They were keenly aware that while they were chained, they were surrounded by the Living One and True God.  They were not forgotten, they were not bound because of past sins (remember Paul's past), they were not bound because of something they did wrong.  In fact my friend, they were bound to glorify God.  The Lord God accompanied them to this place of imprisonment.  He led them there.  He called them to this place for this very hour of praise.  For with the stocks came praise at midnight.  The Lord shook the foundations of the jail and their chains were unfastened, but none left.  As a result, the jailer was saved along with his household.  Glory to God.  
Whatever has your feet in stocks, wherever you are imprisoned, praise him.  Praise Him, PRAISE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Praise him at midnight when the hour looks its darkest.  Praise him when you don't see His hand working.  Praise Him when the circumstances look like the exact opposite of what you are praying for.  Praise Him because He is the One that shakes the earth...Praise Him when the hour looks darkest.  You are surrounded by a heavenly host resounding the Sweet Name of Jesus.    Join in the singing and my friend, at midnight we'll be singing together.


Anonymous said...

I got your blog address off your FB page, and I love reading it. Today was especially great for me to hear as Bud and I have been going through some hard times asking God, WHY?! So this was so perfect to read and encourage me to continue to Praise HIm through it all! Thanks for your words!
Mary T. Miller

Bill, Misty, Will, and Laura Ann said...

Thank You!!!!!!!!!!
I laid in bed this morning thinking of painful things that have recently occurred or are occurring and pondered my response. God what do you want me to do in this circumstance? Well...
Praise Him! Praise Him! That is the primary response. Thank you for reminding me of Paul's story this morning.

It was so good to hug your neck on Sunday.

Shauna said...

I needed this today. I feel like complaining so much of the time but I need to remember to praise Him. My problems may be big or small (I feel like whining either way), but I still owe my life and gratitude to my Lord.

Thanks for the reminder!

Tonja said...

Beautiful words, dear friend. So true. His word says, "IN everything give thanks." We do not have to like where we are, or what we are going through. We may not be able to praise Him or thank Him for the situation we are in...BUT...we can praise Him and thank Him that He IS. He is faithful. He is strength. He is love.

Angie Blaxton said...

Loved this! Your words today are so full of truth and encouragement. I am thankful to have friends like you who try to paise Him always and share His truth.
P.S. Hope your throat is better.

Hicks Family said...

Thank you...this was really something that I needed to be reminded of. I am guilty of being so busy and not having my daily quiet time. I am missing that sweet time with our Great Father and am thankful that He is constant when I am not. Thanks for the words!

J said...

so encouraging! thanks for posting.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I had wondered what you comment in your email meant about singing at midnight. Now I know. Thank you for this reminder. It never comes too often to be reminded to praise Jesus, regardless. I've had a rough day with a family relationship...wondering what to do, what to say, what to write to her...what does He want me to do. Yes, I will praise Him but I also seek Him to know if He wants me to do something or not, and if so, what.

But for now, I will praise Him for who He is and take a step back and praise Him for who He's given me in this person (female family member who gave birth to me).

Thank you, Lord, for using this sweet one to remind me to praise You. I have so much for which to praise You...You give me reason alone to praise You.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

When we are in our pursuit for righteousness it is so so easy to get discouraged. When we look to His Word for the fortification we need, we are definitely in the right place!

I enjoyed this post today - and your boys are just precious!

Juelie's Raindrop Thoughts said...

thank you for this...truly encouraging!!