Imprisoned By Faith
by Judy Webb
"Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling." (Acts 16:19)
The Scripture selection today is telling of Paul and Silas's encounter with a demon possessed woman. She was a slave who earned lots of money for her owners because of her ability to tell the future. Paul recognized the demon and cast it out of her. Her owners soon realized their money stream was dried up, they turned on Paul and Silas, giving them a severe beating. The two disciples were arrested and imprisoned.
"After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them." (Acts 16:23,25) Then followed a frightening earthquake. It shook the walls and very foundation of the prison. It was so violent that the prison doors flew open, and their chains fell away. The jailer feared his prisoners could have escaped. But they, (Paul and Silas) stayed right there. They knew there was outreach about to happen. Sometimes, the prison we find ourselves in is the perfect setting to minister to someone and testify to God’s goodness and grace.
"At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household." (Acts 16:34)
Can you imagine what was going through the jailer’s mind when he saw the men were still there waiting? Paul and Silas prayed and then saw an opportunity and grabbed for it. What was the result? Another example of something being meant for harm but God used it for good.
Jesus, give us eyes to see opportunities before us. Fill us with courage to step up and do the next right thing. And to always pray and maybe even sing when we feel oppressed and overwhelmed by life.