One of the most inspiring stories of the New Testament happens in the darkest place: literally a Turkish prison. Persecuted for their faith, Paul and Silas were beaten and bound there in stocks and chains. Hungry, and still bleeding, Acts 16 records how they prayed AND sang praises to God. Loudly. Instead of questions and doubts, they offered God their thanks and trust. What a challenging and powerful picture their story paints.
And the result of their praise was supernatural. At midnight, an earthquake shook the prison, breaking their chains and opening the doors. Paul and Silas led the terrified jailer to the Lord, and he became a lifelong friend and pastor.
You may not be in a literal prison, but many of us can feel imprisoned by life’s circumstances. We feel bound and chained to things out of our control: problems at work, difficult relationships, financial stress, and loss, to name a few. That is exactly how the devil wants us to feel. But the truth is, no matter how dark it seems, there’s always a way to turn on the light– a way you have complete control of: thanks and praise. You have control over your mouth, and you can break free by choosing to thank God for what He has done and praise Him for who He is to you.
If it’s challenging for you to think of something positive, you may have to start with the basics. Do you have food, water, & air? Do you have forgiveness for sin? Chances are you have a lot more to be thankful for than just that. Has God ever made a difference in your life? Each time you acknowledge something good, you’re letting in another ray of light. Soon you’ll be throwing open the prison door, and God’s full light of goodness can come flooding in.
Only light dispels darkness, and we know that Jesus is the light. In John 8:12 he tells us,
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Remember how Jesus fed the multitude with just a child’s lunch? In Matthew 14, as many as 20,000 people were hungry, and the disciples only had 5 loaves and 2 fish donated by a little boy. It must have seemed pitifully inadequate when compared to the need. Maybe what you have seems like a drop in the bucket, too. But you’ll notice that Jesus wasn’t focusing on the need so much. He was focused on what he already had. The first thing He did with that tiny lunch was bless it. He acknowledged it and gave thanks for it. He didn’t curse the lack. He blessed the supply. Then the hand of God moved. That’s what God wants us to do, too.
So what is it that you need? Finances? Wisdom? Peace and love in your home? First, look for ways God has already supplied some portion of that need, and thank Him for it. Don’t overlook the smallest detail. Then praise God as your supplier, your answer, your need-meeter. Praise Him for what the Word says He’s already done for you, even if you can’t feel it yet. Thanking God will amplify the supply you currently have until it’s enough to exceed the need. Praising Him will grow His presence for you in that area of weakness until you learn to rely fully on His strength.
So let the radical praise of Paul and Silas, and of Jesus Himself, inspire you to find your joy in the Lord throughout each day. Don’t focus on the darkness. No matter the circumstances, let His light and his love break you free. The results will be supernatural.
Have you recently experienced a breakthrough from God? We’d love to know about it.