When your feet are in stocks

Acts 16:25, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas meet a woman who is a fortune-teller. She is following them around as they are preaching and continues to echo, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” After several days of this, Paul and Silas turn to her and command the demons in the name of Jesus Christ to leave her. Fortune Telling provided money for her owners, and those owners are angry that Paul and Silas have removed this ability from her.

The owners take Paul and Silas to the Magistrate and have them arrested. The crowds join in the attack against these men, and Paul and Silas are beaten within an inch of their lives and thrown into jail. The worst of criminals (those most dangerous to society) are held in stocks. Paul and Silas’ feet are anchored down in stocks, a very painful process. Also, they are heavily guarded.

It is fascinating to read what Paul and Silas do. First, imagine what you would do. Maybe you would demand a lawyer or protest that the treatment you had received was unlawful. Possibly, you would cry out to God in agony and defeat.  I can hear it now, “I am preaching your word, Lord! Get me out of this mess!” But the scriptures tell us that Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.  You guessed it; the other prisoners were listening.

Who is watching you? Who is listening to you? Maybe it is a co-worker or a neighbor. Maybe it is your son or daughter. Maybe it is your brother or sister. Maybe it is a complete stranger. How we respond to adversity is one of the greatest testimonies we can offer to God; it can also be the most damaging when we respond incorrectly.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you are an instrument for God. He will come to your rescue. He will deliver you. Remember Paul and Silas the next time you are faced with less than ideal circumstances. Allow God to use your struggles to witness to others.

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