“And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.’”Acts 16:27, 28.
Have you heard the story of Paul and Silas in the prison? They were two apostles called by Jesus to spread the Gospel, but along the way they got into a bit of trouble and were arrested. The Romans were pretty upset that these Jews were ruffling feathers by preaching in the name of Jesus and not observing the customs of the Romans.
Particularly, they had just cast a demon spirit out of a slave girl who had the power of divination, or fortune telling. She had been following Paul and Silas for days, continually bothering and mocking . Weary of it, they finally told the spirit to come out of her. This made those that owned her very upset because they no longer had an income. So they took hold of the two apostles and put them into prison, made sure they were beaten with rods many times and then securely put their feet in stocks.
Now the cool thing about this story is the escape. But Paul and Silas were not planning one.
But they were praying, maybe for their safety, maybe because they were in pain, maybe just because they couldn’t sleep. Whatever the reason, the Bible says the other prisoners were listening to them when they prayed. It doesn’t just say they heard them, it says they were listening to them!
They were intrigued by the spirit of these two men who had just been beaten within an inch of their lives and were now praying and singing hymns to their God. Why? What could they possibly have to sing about? They were bruised, battered and bleeding, but they kept singing and praying.
At about midnight, something changed. “Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.” Acts 16:26,27 NKJV.
This jailer knew the responsibility that was upon his shoulders. If these prisoners escaped he would immediately be executed, so he was prepared to take his own life. He was assuming and jumping to conclusions before he even knew what was happening around him.
Paul steps in. “But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.’ Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” Acts 16:28-33 NKJV.
Paul literally saves this man’s life and then proceeds to offer him life eternal.
Jumping to conclusions almost cost him everything. He was too quick to think that all was lost, and he was sure he was going to come out the loser.
Aren’t we all a little like this jailer? Do we think tragedy lurks behind every corner? Are we waiting for the BIG ONE to strike? And when it does, are we ready to cave? Are we going to throw in the towel before we even find out if we can make it through the difficulty?
We let our imaginations run away with us, worrying over every little and big thing in our lives. But Jesus told us specifically, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34 NLT.
Let Him take care of it!
He can, and will, take your worries away. Worry can be a sin because we let it consume us. We are saying we do not trust our God enough to take care of our lives, our problems, our families. But when we start handing things that are out of our control to Him, we will find rest, comfort, and peace of mind. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Jeremiah 17:7.
When we stop assuming to know everything and let God be God, our whole demeanor will change.
“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.” Psalm 3:3 NKJV.