In Ac ts 16:16-40, Paul and Silas suffered much during this story. Verse 23 tells us they were stripped and flogged. Verse 24 tells of how they were placed in an inner cell, probably far from the light of day and chained into stocks by their feet. They of all people had every right to feel burned out. They had every right to let the exhaustion of their beatings get the best of them. At the very least, it could have been expected that they would be drained, tired, weary, and silent as they recovered from the trauma of the beating they received. However, verse 24 tells us a different story altogether than the one we would expect to hear. These two men weren’t feeling sorry for themselves or passing the proverbial buck onto the believers who hadn’t just been beaten and thrown in jail. Verse 25 tells us that they were praying and singing hymns to God and that the other prisoners were listening. These men were witnessing in the midst of some of the most dreary looking circumstances. To truly understand the power behind their non-burned out actions, we must read on into verse 26 where we see that their singing and praises to God led the way to an amazing opportunity as the earth shakes, the shackles fall away from the prisoners, and the doors flew open.
At this point the story is already pretty amazing. These beaten men were praising and being a witness and God freed them with an earthquake. Even more amazing is that not only do Paul and Silas remain in the prison, but the other prisoners do as well. In turn, these actions save the life of their guard both physically and eternally. Verse 33 tells us that, through Paul and Silas, the jailer and all of his household were immediately baptized.
In the midst of a time when burn out would have been completely understandable, these two men made the decision to worship. Without that decision the lives of many would have been lost both physically and eternally. Even now, we have no idea how far reaching an impact Paul and Silas may have had that one night with a decision to burn bright instead of burn out.
Devotional written by Lindsey.
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