Are you familiar with Acts 16:16-40? Let me set the stage for you. A slave girl, with a spirit of divination makes a lot of money for her owners. For some reason she daily followed Paul and Silas, yelling that they were servants of the most- high God. Paul got annoyed and cast out the spirit. No more money for the owners!
In turn they called in the law. Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to ‘guard them securely’ which seems to mean, more than the regular. He placed them in stocks and jailed them. Then he went to sleep!
Paul and Silas stayed awake, praying and singing hymns and all the other prisoners listened in. (One has to hope they had good singing voices!) Big earthquake follows; doors open and chains fall off.
Jailer wakes up to hear Paul cry out, “Don’t worry! We are all here!” Jailer’s first words, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas spoke the Word of the Lord to them and he in turn washed their wounds and fed them. The jailer and his family all believed and were even baptized.
Generally, prisoners are in jail because they might hurt others. This Covid-19 prison is a kind of jail which is in place to protect others from hurting us. The judges try to release them quietly but Paul is having none of that. They are Romans and by law should not have been beaten. They are hussled out of town.
There are several ‘instant’ moments in this passage. The spirit was cast out immediately, in the name of Jesus. The prison gates opened suddenly. Chains fell off instantly. But in between the instantly of life, there were days of annoyance, mobs, unfair accusations, beatings, jail and pray/praise times.
I have rarely been in an instantly situation. More often, I am in those other days of longing, misrepresentation, loneliness, defeat, mistake and misunderstandings.
If that is you, friend, join me the kind of waiting that illuminates God; Prayer and Praise and Patience. Sustaining faith in the midst of our non-instant times, will help us hold on until the instantly.
Suddenly…at once… the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. (Acts 16:26, NIV)
Prayer- God we are in for the long haul here and we promise, with your help to wait patiently for your instantly. In Christ’s name. Amen.