The Corona Quarantine of 2020 might have you feeling as if you are imprisoned, locked down, or chained to your home and unable to leave and live freely as you normally do. Your food options may be more limited. Contact with other people has been diminished and almost limited to strictly communicating via technology. The end of this detention may seem unforeseeable. (Thankfully, this may be the closest many of us ever come to being held captive.)
While reading in Acts this morning, God gave me a glimpse into what seems like a plan we could model during this time of uncertainty. In chapter 16, Paul and Silas had just been shackled in jail. Their prison walls and chains, unlike our current ones, were not symbolic. Here is what happened…
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 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 chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then 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 stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. Acts 16:25-34 NKJV
Trust and fear God by renewing and filling our minds with the truth of Scripture. This verse gives me strength.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"Psalm 118:6 NKJV
Having believed in Jesus for His free gift of eternal life, I know that my
physical life may be taken but nothing (specifically, this virus), and no one
can take my eternal life!
What were Paul and Silas doing while they were incarcerated?
They were praying and singing with grace in their hearts to the Lord! They were redeeming the time! They were living out Ephesians 5… they were filled with the Spirit… singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; (it seems they were) giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; subject to one another in the fear of Christ (they were submitting to the Roman government). Eph 5:18 - 21
God and the other prisoners heard their petitions and their praises! God (literally) moved through an earthquake! Because of their faithfulness (and God’s mercy) during their trial...
All the prison doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.”Acts 16:26 NKJV
The jailer called for a light: Paul and Silas shared the light of the world, Jesus, with him (John 8:12). He wanted to know about the reason for the hope that was within them (1 Peter 3:15). Why did the jailer look to Paul and Silas for answers? He turned to the two who had responded differently, the two who were looking up and not around. Paul and Silas had their minds set on things above, not things on this Earth (Colossians 3:2). The jailer knew that Paul and Silas had hope; they were not suffering in silence but instead were singing to their Protector, their Provider! A response of faith to tribulations will cause others to ask questions - “what must I do to be saved,” the jailer asked.
We, too, can make this a time of rejoicing for ourselves and for those around us who are in the dark. We can be more concerned about sharing the love of Christ than we are about not spreading a virus. So, let’s sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, give thanks to God for everything and submit to our authority. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts… and be thankful! (Colossians 3:15)