Every single human being on this earth struggles. It is just the way it is. We often think when we are doing our best to do the right thing that everything should run smoothly, but that is not always the case. We all live on earth and while we do, things will not always run smoothly, and things will never be perfect.
I have written a lot about being thankful in the valleys of life. I have told you stories about how my grandma walked through the valleys of her life and how she continued to give God praise even when she felt hopeless, scared, and alone. Being thankful for the struggles and believing that we will emerge from the valleys of life is truly one of the most important ways to maintain our peace while we live on this earth. There are so many examples of people refusing to give up and who continued to be thankful and give God praise even when they were struggling, but I heard a story on the radio a few days ago that really brought that point home to me in a very powerful way. I was really touched by the story, so I thought I would share it with all of you in hopes that you, too, would draw strength from it.
It is the story of Paul and Silas in the Bible. I am sure most of you are aware of the story, but I will give you a quick synopsis anyway. Paul and Silas were unjustly imprisoned for a crime. While they were in prison, they continued to be thankful and to praise God. One night, they decided that they should sing and show God how thankful they were and let Him know how much faith they had that He would deliver them from the prison in which they were held captive. Around midnight, as they were singing, there was a terrible earthquake. The force of the earthquake was so strong that the prison doors swung opened. The chains that held the two men in bondage were broken, and they were set free!
I cannot tell you what hearing this story did for me. I, like all of you, sometimes feel like I am in bondage and there are things about my life that I would like to change. It is not that I have a terrible life. In fact, I have a quite good life, but I have dreams and goals that I would like to accomplish, but it seems that I am in a position that makes realizing those dreams and achieving those goals impossible. However, when I heard the story of Paul and Silas, I realized that I can be free from the chains that bind me and that the doors to my prison can be opened and I will be set free. That can and will happen for me, and it will happen for you as well.
You may be wondering how this is possible, but I want you to remember that it is indeed possible. It is our job to bring our concerns to God and have faith that He will work them out. It is our job to continue to be thankful and continue to give Him praise until he delivers us. It is like the person telling the story of Paul and Silas on the radio said, “Paul and Silas didn’t wait for God to free them before they praised Him. They praised Him and then saw God deliver them.” To me, those are powerful words. Often, we grumble and complain about things and refuse to be thankful until God moves on our behalf. What we should all try to do is be thankful first and then watch Him move. I really believe this new mindset will make all of our lives better.
Another aspect of the story of Paul and Silas that really spoke to me was the timing of God’s miraculous movement. It was midnight, the time of night when it is often the darkest and things seem the most hopeless. God waited until that moment when most people would be ready to give up to perform a miracle. This is true for all of our lives too. It is often at our darkest moment when we have lost all hope that God moves in a miraculous way and the things we have been waiting for and praying about come to us. I truly believe this is God’s way of showing us that nothing is impossible and that just when we want to give up He will come through with the answer or miracle that we have been praying about.
The moral of the story of Paul and Silas can truly be applied to all of our lives. It is true that many of us will not face the reality of being in prison, but there are so many types of prisons on this earth. The chains and doors we are trapped by may be invisible to others, but to us, they are very real. However, when we are thankful and do our best to praise God while we are in prison and are even thankful for the chains and doors that seem to bind us, He will set us free and we will walk down the path no longer encumbered by the weight of our problems. I really believe that if we would all try a little harder to apply the story of Paul and Silas to our own lives, we will have more peace while we are waiting for God to set us free and PEACE MATTERS!