Many of us have been where Paul and Silas were. If not in an actual prison, we have been terribly wronged and for no reason of our making. We have been abused, insulted, mocked and scorned. For honoring God and proclaiming Him to others. Do we turn to worship in that moment? Or do we turn away from the same God? Read Erin’s post below and see what struck her from Acts 16. Erin is passionate about using her life to bring glory to Him. I have been blessed as I read her blog “Momma’s Living Room” (links below). She has ideas and topics that she would love for guests to collaborate with her (please go to her website if you are interested). I hope you are drawn to worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth more and more each day.
I’m an avid consumer of candy, sugar, and caffeine. I’m also an aspiring cat lady. I write on my blog to share my love for Jesus and my family. My hope and prayer is that my words are used to encourage you and we journey through this life.
Wronged and Worshiping
There I was, six-years-old, steaming mad and standing in time-out.
My mom had invited him over. He was a four-year-old little boy named Angel. Unlike what his name would suggest, he was anything but an angel. He was mean, disruptive, and did virtually anything he pleased despite his mom’s laughing requests for him to behave. Hitting, biting, slapping, punching, spitting, head-butting, none of these behaviors were off the table for Angel. His parents thought he was cute and funny, however no one else in the room agreed. I remember at a prior playdate how Angel’s parents had held him while he kicked and screamed and they all exited the door as a family. Relief followed their exit and it was oh so sweet.
But there I was, standing in time-out all because of Angel. During this playdate, our moms visited upstairs while my siblings, Angel, and l played downstairs in our split-level house. It did not take long for Angel to be his disruptive little self. He began slamming the rolling closet doors open and shut. It was deafening. Despite our protests, he continued to do this over and over and over. My mom called for the noise to cease and still Angel did not stop this behavior. For some reason, my mother assumed the loud banging was me, and to this day I have no idea why. While the noise persisted, my mom angrily called me up the stairs to answer for the noise.
When she called me upstairs, Angel had chosen that exact moment to cease the slamming of the closet doors.
She began by asking me about the slamming of the closet door. I answered that it was Angel, but my mother would not believe me. That landed me in time-out for lying. When my time was up, she again asked about the slamming of the closet door. I insisted that it was Angel but my mother did not believe me. She returned me to time-out for lying. I answered truthfully when she repeated her question and landed in time out for a third time. When she asked after my third time of time out, I lied. I answered that I had slammed the closet door. I figured lying was better than standing in time out all day. The worst part was that I had to apologize to Angel’s mother for accusing her son of slamming the closet door.
I was angry. I returned downstairs to that same bedroom to discover Angel laughing at me for getting in trouble.
Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you did not even do?
Read Acts 16:16-34
There was once a slave girl who, through a demonic spirit, had the power to tell people secrets about their lives. One day, she decided to follow Paul and Silas around. She announced who they were (servants of the Most High God), and what they were doing (proclaiming the way of salvation). She did this for days. Can you imagine how annoying that would be? It is bad enough when a younger sibling follows us around to pester us, but what about a stranger? What about someone who could easily be mistaken for being a part of Paul and Silas’ ministry? After days of her persistent and unwelcome company, Paul was annoyed. He turned around, commanded the demonic spirit to come out of her.
Part of me wonders why he had not chosen this action sooner. Had he not recognized that she was possessed by a demonic spirit? Had he weighed the consequences of what might happen to them if she was freed? Whatever the reason, this girl was freed from that demonic spirit.
The problem with his act is that it set her free from this demon. The problem with that freedom is that her owners had lost their income. This angered them greatly. They brought Paul and Silas before the rulers and pleaded their case. They claimed that Paul and Silas were disturbing the city by bringing freedom through the message of salvation and through their actions. Paul and Silas were disruptive, they accused.
Paul and Silas were punished for setting this girl free. They were punished because her owners had lost revenue. Paul and Silas were beaten with rods without a trial and without consideration of their Roman status. They were thrown into prison. Their side of the story did not matter, much like my six-year-old self declaring my innocence.
Paul and Silas did not respond to these unjust circumstances like most of us would have.
They worshiped without care of who might hear. They did not care if their worship offended others and they did not care about the consequences of raising their voices up in worship and prayer. In their same situation, we might worry about further beatings or about the unkind words the other prisoners may utter. They did not care about any of that, their only concern was expressing their adoration to their savior. Nothing would hinder their love for God.
They worshiped despite being wronged and publicly humiliated. How many of us would have taken our anger out on those around us? How many of us would have lashed out at our loved ones because of our tough and humiliating day? How many of us would have chosen to keep to ourselves and nurse our wounded egos? Where we might choose to wallow in the “why me” mentality, Paul and Silas chose to pray and worship. Where we might withdraw from the Lord, they pressed in.
They worshiped through their physical pain. A lot of us might use our physical pain as an excuse to not worship. We prioritize the aches and pains of our bodies over the voice of the Lord. Paul and Silas chose to worship in spite of, through, and because of their pain. Their circumstances did not change their belief that God was good.
My own unjust circumstances caused me to question my mother’s love for me. I questioned why she would not believe me, her choices, and her reasoning behind my punishment. Paul and Silas never questioned whether God loved them. They never questioned God’s goodness, sovereignty, and care for them. It did not change their mission to serve Him. Worship focused them on who God was and all the reasons why He was worthy of their worship.
Next time you face your Angel, remember Paul and Silas’ response to worship God. Do not let your Angel make you lose sight of God’s love for you and His amazing goodness.
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If you were blessed by reading this post, please comment below and check out Erin’s blog. Until next time,