The hospital room was filled with family members and fellow believers as the dear saint was about to leave this present world for the glories of heaven. As our friend was going through the valley of the shadow of death someone suggested we sing. Knowing that even so close to death he may still be able to hear the sweet songs of the faith. So we joined our voices in some familiar hymns.
Paul and Silas were beaten with rods and cast into a dungeon for doing the work of Christ. We are told they were thrown into the inner prison and their feet were placed in stocks in Acts 16. Even though they must have been in pain from their beating, at midnight they chose to pray and sing hymns to God. Their joy and praise gave them the strength from being sucked into the dungeon of despair. They knew that the sufferings of this world are only temporary and they could look forward to being with Jesus for all eternity. They also knew that they had the privilege of suffering for the cause of Christ. They rested in God’s sovereign power who was able to get them out of that dungeon if He chose to do so. If you recall the rest of the story, God sent an earthquake that shook loose their bonds and led to the salvation of the jailer and his whole family.
I notice in verse 25 an interesting phrase that all of us need to remember: “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). The prisoners saw their wounds but also heard their hymns. They knew about their pain but couldn’t keep from hearing their praise. Instead of swearing, anger, moans and groans from their beating that prison was filled with sweet songs of praise in the night.
I wonder, how do we respond in the dungeons we find ourselves in. May God teach us the power of praise. You never know who may be listening.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation