TEXT: Acts 16:22-34
IT was in the middle of the night. It was the darkest part of the night when everyone should be asleep. Paul and Silas were not asleep.
Paul and Silas were two good men. They were Jesus’ helpers. They went around telling people about Jesus. Where do you think these two good men were? They were in jail. That is why they could not go to sleep.
Paul and Silas had not done one thing that was bad. They were put in the old, cold prison-jail just because they loved Jesus and told others about Him.
There they were, way inside the cold prison-jail. Perhaps they were cold, and their feet were tied up so they could not walk. It was dark in there, too. They even had chains on their hands. But that did not keep Paul and Silas from wanting to pray and talk to God. Some of the mean, bad men had hit and hit Paul and Silas until they felt sore, and they hurt all over. That still did not keep them from loving God.
They began singing some songs to God because they loved Him so much. Paul and Silas sang and sang together and praised God.
Other people in the prison-jail must have heard them singing and thought, my, how can anyone be happy in here?
All of a sudden the prison walls began to shake. Shake, shake, shake, they went. Those great, big, heavy walls went shake, shake.
Look! Look! The big, big doors, that had locks on them, began to open, open, open. Now the prison-jail doors were wide open and no one had unlocked them. All the men in there could have run away from there if they had wanted to. God had made the ground shake. God made the prison-jail door swing open. And that is not all. The chains around Paul and Silas’ hands fell right off. Their feet were loose, too, and they could walk. God did not want His two good men treated badly like that.
The keeper man, the man who took care of the prison, woke up. He was afraid. “What shall I do?” he thought. “What shall I do? The doors are open and the men will run away.”
Paul called to him, “We are all here.” Away went the keeper man for a light. He ran into the dark prison room. He looked. Yes, they were all there.
The keeper man was shaking, he was so afraid. He ran over to Paul and Silas and got down on his knees right in front of them. “What must I do to be saved?” he asked.
Paul and Silas told the prison keeper that he must know in his heart that Jesus is God’s Son. He must love Jesus and tell Him he is sorry for anything he ever did that was bad. That is how he could be saved. The keeper man did love Jesus then.
The keeper man took Paul and Silas home with him. He did not make them go back into that ugly, dark prison-jail. He took them to his own house and washed their sore arms and legs. He gave them some good food to eat.
Paul and Silas found out that they could be happy in a prison-jail as well as at home. They did not pout or fuss when bad things happened to them. They loved God so much they were happy anyway. God wants us to be like that. We are not to pout or be cranky when we cannot do what we want to do. God wants us to be happy and be a good helper for Him.