“At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”Acts 16:25
Paul and Silas have not been the only faithful men of God to find themselves in prison as a result of their obedience and faithfulness to God. The Holy Spirit had directed him to Macedonia (vs 6 & 7). It was at Paul’s word that a young woman was delivered from the power of a demon resulting in their being beaten almost to death and imprisonment (vs 22-23). In that state of immense pain they were also put in stocks but they were not bitter with God. Instead they prayed and sang His praises.
We should not expect things to go smoothly, as we perceive them, just because we are faithful to the Lord’s leading. Paul and Silas were surrendered to whatever the Lord brought their way and trusted Him with all their circumstances, even beatings to the point of death or death itself.
On this occasion it pleased God to miraculously release them from the stocks and open the prison gates (v 26). Paul and Silas could not have foreseen this or what would happen next. They made no attempt to leave and neither did any of the other prisoners (v 28). The jailor knew that if prisoners had escaped he would be put to death. Paul interrupted his attempt at suicide and the jailor’s question gave Paul the opportunity to preach Christ (vs 31-32).
From that moment the jailor was a changed man as was his family and household (vs 33-34). Paul and Silas waited until they were released so that no harm would come to the jailor or his family and household.
We won’t be forewarned of the trials of life that the Lord will lead us into but they will be for reasons we cannot perceive prior to the event. Like Paul and Silas our part is to be obedient to the word of the Lord and the leading of the Holy Spirit and accept with praise, prayer and worship what becomes of it. Bitterness and complaint did not cross their minds and should never cross ours. Like Jesus we will say, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (John 18:11).
Timothy was on this trip with Paul and Silas. Paul would later write to him, “Yes, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12) and “endure afflictions … fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).