Mark Hall, from Casting Crowns, wrote a song a few years back called "I will praise you in this storm". During the time of the song being written, Mark's friends were going through one of the darkest storms of their life. Their daughter was battling cancer. Mark said, "As a Christ follower, it is one thing to project and predict how someone should act when they are facing hard times, it is completely another thing to actually see someone you are close to going through those hard times."
After the Apostle Paul, ruined the fortune telling career of a young girl, him and Silas were faced with a difficult time. Check it out here in Acts 16:
20 “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. 21 “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”
22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.
Falsely accused, surrounded, stripped, beaten with wooden rods, severely beaten, thrown in prison, clamped with their feet in stocks. Just like Alexander (from the famous Judith Viorst children's book), Paul and Silas were having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. But how did they respond? They responded with prayers and hymns. Not curse words, not blaming, not self-pity, not anger, not words of revenge, not doubt...just simply prayers and singing to God. The amazing thing about this story is that it captures the entirety of the scene. It clues us in on what the other people around Paul and Silas were doing. They were listening. Sometimes in our self-centered worlds, we forget about this important reality; There are always people watching and listening to you. How do we respond to the blessings in our lives? Do we take the credit or do we understand that they were gifts from God? How do we respond to the storms in our lives? Do we praise God through them or did we expect to never be amongst the calamity?
Take some time to listen to this song today.
With sincere love for each of you,