Eternal One, I thank you for your continued presence in my life. If it were not for that presence, my ability to stand would be non-existent. Thank you for leading me into love. May I love as you have loved, forgive as you have forgiven, and extend grace as you extend grace to me. Now as I lay my head down to rest, may I rest in the shelter of your wings. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Daily Archives: July 12, 2021
Psalm 145:1-9 (NRSV)
The Greatness and the Goodness of God
1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you,
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall laud your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
Acts 16:22-34 English Standard Version (ESV)
22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
The Philippian Jailer Converted
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and 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 bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
What a wonderful rescue story! Jailed for preaching and performing miracles in the name of Jesus, Paul and Silas spent their prison time praising God at the top of their voices. They believed that no matter what their circumstances, Jesus was still the Lord and his plan was moving forward. Suddenly, God intervened dramatically with an earthquake that broke their chains and opened the prison doors.
No one would have blamed the apostles if they had hightailed it out of there. After all, they had important work to do for God! It wouldn’t have been their problem if the jailer who had brutalized them committed suicide because he knew he’d be punished for letting them escape. But instead, they stayed put to see what more God had for them right there.
Sure enough, the jailer fell to his knees before them and asked to know the Lord. More striking than the earthquake was the presence of Christ in these men who cared about the jailer’s salvation more than their safety. They forgave him and – even more important – enabled them to experience God’s forgiveness.
Many of us are high-energy people with a list of things we want to accomplish. When some trial or difficulty sidelines us, we become frustrated. We may even forget to praise our Father, who loves us in all circumstances. And then, when he finally does rescue us from a difficult situation, we dust ourselves off and charge ahead as before.
This isn’t always a bad thing. But sometimes God asks us to rise up and be different. Sometimes the best thing we can do is not lose our peace, even in the face of injustice or in the midst of struggle. Often, it is the way that we hold our ground that strikes people the most deeply – far more than the words we speak.
You may have to wait patiently for a bit before you see God work through you – and it may not always come through high drama like today’s reading. Still, if you listen closely and try your best to hold onto your joy, the witness of your love and peace will make a difference in someone else’s life.