In Acts 16:16-34, while on the way to the house of prayer, a young slave woman began following Paul and Silas. Her shouts were meant to draw unwanted attention to them. In reality, the enemy was seeking to run Paul and his evangelistic team out of town. But Paul commanded the harassing spirit to leave this young woman (see Acts 16:18).
Her owners, who made money through her fortune-telling, were not happy. Frustrations grew until the entire city of Philippi erupted; Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten, flogged, and thrown into prison.
"There is far greater power available to you when you bless the name of the Lord in the midst of confusing circumstances and glory in the Lord when everything is blowing up in your face."
If anyone had a reason to be depressed, it was Paul and Silas. Yet, they did not allow their circumstances to cause them to question the providence of God. Instead of seeing a desperate situation, they trusted in God's purposes. Beaten and bleeding, they sang praises and hymns to God. These grateful hearts prepared the way for God to do something incredible in that Philippian jail (see Acts 16:25-26).
At midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing to the Lord and while the other prisoners listened, a tremendous earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. The door to their jail cell opened, and they were free men -- but they did not leave because they knew it would mean death for the jailer who had been given the charge to watch over them. The jailer was amazed by their commitment to God and accepted Christ as his Savior. Not only that, but the jailer's entire family was saved and then baptized, and the next morning Paul and Silas were freed.
Had they been murmuring and grumbling about how a loving God could let them land in such a place, they would have missed an opportunity to lead a man and his entire family to the Lord. But because of the way they perceived God, they were joyful in the midst of devastating circumstances.
How you see God will directly affect whether you are a praising or a complaining person. If you see God as the all-powerful, wholly sovereign Lord who loves you dearly -- if you see God as the one who saved you, called you, and knew you before the foundation of the earth -- you will be an overcomer. There is far greater power available to you when you bless the name of the Lord in the midst of confusing circumstances and glory in the Lord when everything is blowing up in your face.
Prayer: God, help me to see You as You really are -- the lover of my soul. May I trust in You in all circumstances, whether joyful or grim, remembering who You are. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).