~About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.~
How do you respond to difficult situations in your life? Moan and groan? Pick yourself up and grimly force your way forward? Limp along? Whatever your usual response to difficulty, you can learn a lot from reading about Paul and Silas’s reaction to imprisonment.
Try to picture the scene. Stripped and whipped until almost dead, their feet in stocks, sitting in an inner cell, probably without windows and only a small door, what did Paul and Silas do? Whimper and cry? No. Pray for release? Maybe. As unlikely as it might seem, they sat there together, in the dark, perhaps shivering from cold and very likely in pain from flogging, and sang hymns together. That had to be one of the most beautiful and stirring duets you’d ever be likely to hear.
Hard times come to everyone at some point in life. Some situations are worse than others. Some can bring believers to the breaking point, crushing their spirits, making them cry out to God for relief. Others cause quiet desperation and prayers of intense longing. Some are quick and sharp. Others are like a persistent and annoying drip of water. All can cause believers to crumble beneath the load of grief or pain.
There is definite value in reading through Scripture to find out how others have faced the difficulties common to living in this broken world. But few will lift your battered spirit like reading of Paul and Silas belting out their favorite hymns while in a dank, dark prison.