The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
Before the earthquake, a heartquake.
"And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely, who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed" (Acts 16:22-26).
Paul and Silas were stripped of their clothes, their skin, their mobility, their freedom, and apparently, their ministry. As believers do in such circumstances, they prayed. We understand that, and take their example to heart regarding our own trials and challenges. However, our brothers of old did more than pray. They also sang praises. Where did that come from? Consider how dire were the conditions they faced in the immediate moment. While songs may come forth from difficulties faced over time, it is less likely that the battered, the bleeding, and the bound find motivation for music while in the very throes of suffering.
Here the heartquake enters the picture. I can find only one reason that Paul and Silas sang in their trial.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
The Savior preached by Paul and Silas met them in their pain and their prison. Somehow, in some way, the Lord Jesus Christ revealed His presence, grace, comfort, and peace to the degree that the Holy Spirit composed a song of praise in their hearts, leading them to sing for the glory of God and the benefit of the other prisoners who heard them. Yes, a heartquake preceded the earthquake. "God… giveth songs in the night" (Job 35:10). The Spirit of God moved so powerfully within Paul and Silas that they could do nothing but pray and sing.
Paul and Silas's "song in the night" proceeded from the Savior in the night who met them in their trial, and in their hearts. Their story exists in the pages of Scripture to encourage our expectation that our Heavenly Father will meet us in our own trials as we trust and submit to Him. The Psalmist once asked, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Psalm 137:4). Paul and Silas answer. "God's very present help in trouble" moves the heart in ways that lead to praise and thanksgiving, even in our severest challenges. Yes, let us expect the heartquake.
"The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart."