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In this moving story we find four miracles of grace.
First, a slave girl is set free. In the name of Jesus she is freed from demonic possession and from human economic exploitation. Thank you, Lord!
Second, human beings worship God in really crummy circumstances. Luke says that around midnight, while lying on the cold floor of the prison, unjustly incarcerated, Paul and Silas “were praying and singing praises to God” (16:25). Talk about miracles! I would not have blamed them if they felt sorry for themselves. Right? That they were praying makes sense; as they say, “even atheists pray in fox-holes.” But that they were singing hymns of praise? Miracle. God had given them grace to respond to their crummy circumstances by turning to him in praise. And as a result they were free. Before the earthquake shook! Praise opens our eyes to the full reality; yes, the chains; but also the living God. And they realized afresh that they had not been abandoned. Thank you Lord!
Third, an earthquake takes place that frees Paul and Silas from prison. The thing about this earthquake is that it seemed to know just where to shake and not to shake! It had one specific purpose – loosen the chains that bind the messengers of the good news! Thank you Lord!
And fourth, a jailer comes to saving faith in Jesus. He is stunned by all he witnesses. He figures that he is in danger of being executed for allowing prisoners to escape, and that he would do the honourable thing for a Roman, and commit suicide. But he hears the good news, believes, and joins his whole family in the adventure of salvation. Thank you, Lord!
Dear God, You continue to work these miracles in our time. Will you especially work the miracle of being able to lift our hearts in praise to you in any circumstance? Then we will be truly free. In Jesus’ name. Amen.