"...And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas; and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house. And they spoke unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” Acts 16:27-33
The news reported two separate incidents of total despair that occurred in the same week. I do not have all the details, just the results. Two men, after losing their jobs and in total despair, went home and took the lives of their children, their spouses, and then themselves. These men killed their families over the loss of a job!
Somehow they could not see a brighter future for their families or themselves. Do you think there were Christian men or women around either of them? Men or women who believed in the strength of God? Chances are there were Christians around them, who, concerned about themselves, ignored their distress; Christians who did not understand why it was important to share their faith in God.
Remember, YOU may be the one who will transform someone from performing such an inane act of desperation and despair into an act of faith. I know sometimes we don't feel like it, sometimes we are going through our own level of distress; but, think of it this way, you with your faith firmly anchored in Jesus would have saved two entire families from death by the hands of their fathers.
In today's verse, Paul and Silas are imprisoned; and, although the Spirit of God rattles the entire prison, releasing their shackles and opening the prison doors, they do not run. The prison guard, awakened from the noise, and seeing the prison doors opened, assumes that his two most important prisoners have fled. Yet, when he reaches for his sword to take his own life in despair, he hears Paul's voice reassuring him that they are all indeed still there. The guard is so stunned that his prisoners did not flee, that he wants to know more about Jesus and to be baptized. By the time they finish ministering to him, in repentance he releases them, takes them to his own house, and bandages their wounds. While there, his two former prisoners minister and baptizes his entire household.
There are times when we must dismiss our own trials and tribulations to address the needs of others, understanding that, as we take care of others, God will take care of us. Remember, the reason you are learning the lessons of Jesus is not to simply say that you are a Christian, it is to share your faith and be a Christian. L.
Study Reference: Acts 16:20-40
From: "To Be, or Not To Be." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell