The bare bones of Acts 16:16-40 go like this. A psychic, fortunetelling slave girl started following Paul around, yelling out, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” Paul, fed up with her, turned and commanded the spirit that possessed her to leave. It did so immediately.
That meant no money for her owners, who accused Paul and Silas of disturbing the peace. The judge ordered a public beating and then threw them into jail.
Paul and Silas didn’t waist time moaning about their fate. They prayed and sang hymns to God, in spite of their pain and suffering. This astonished the other prisoners.
Then an earth quake broke the doors open and nobody ran away! This led to the salvation and baptism of the jail keeper and his family.
Word came that they were to be released but Paul knew his rights. “They beat us up in public and threw us in jail, Roman citizens in good standing! And now they want to get us out of the way on the sly without anyone knowing? Nothing doing! If they want us out of here, let them come themselves and lead us out in broad daylight.”
The judges panicked, hurried over and apologized, personally escorted them from the jail, and asked them to leave the city. Not Paul. He and Silas went straight to Lydia’s, visited friends, encouraged them and finally went on their way.
When I read these Bible exploits, I wonder if I would be so willing. Would I have enough courage to stand for Christ in the midst of such danger?
Then I remember these words.
“When they drag you into their meeting places, or police courts and before judges, don’t worry about defending yourselves—what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there. The Holy Spirit will give you the right words when the time comes.” (Luke 12:11-12, MSG)
Not to worry, friends. When we need that kind of strength, the Lord will give it.
Prayer- Father, thank you for your promises. We stand on them. Amen.