Down for the Count

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26and 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 bonds were unfastened.” Acts 16:25–26 (ESV)

 

Paul and Silas had just been beaten, and arrested for preaching about God.  Their track record was not good; they had been beaten on more than one occasion, arrested, derided, and threatened regularly.  They saw more struggle than success, more obstacles than encouragement.

 

Sound familiar?  You are asked to work more hours and produce more for less pay.  Something always seems to break at just the wrong time around the house, stretching your already thin finances even more.  You feel like for every step you take forward, you are pushed two steps back.  You feel like you got hit with a sucker punch in the gut and you are struggling to breath.  You wonder how you will get back up.

 

Paul and Silas’ reaction is clear.  They turn to God.  They don’t pretend that everything is ok, but turn to God honestly in their struggle.  They open their heart to God and cry out in the midst of their circumstances for God to intervene.  Their worship is heartfelt and honest, they pull no punches, and God hears their cries.  God intervenes in a powerful way to set them free from prison.  God frees them from prison but makes no promises they won’t get knocked down again.  They will still get beaten, discouraged, arrested, and mocked, but they were survivors.

 

Life will knock you down, you will hit tough patches, you will get discouraged, and breaks will not go your way.  But God will be there to pick you up, dust you off, and get you back on track.  God made you to get back up, to keep your eye on the prize, to run the race of faith with all of your being.  So on that day, when you are looking up from ground, turn to God, cry out in prayer, put your Hope in a God who hears his people’s prayer and answers them immeasurably greater than anything you could have ever asked for.

 

Pastor Bill

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Is there something in life that is knocking you down, discouraging you, and pushing you to your limits?
  2. Take time before you walk away from this to pray, to honestly open your heart up to God and be vulnerable.
  3. How can you support others who are struggling right now?

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