On Pain and Praise

About Midnight– Acts 16:25 ESV

It was dark and cold.   They were beaten, shackled and hungry.

We are told that many blows had been inflicted upon them.

It had been a long day and it was now about Midnight.

About Midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God… – Acts 16:25 ESV

I wish I could say that, when things seem to be dark and hopeless, I pray and sing praises to God.  Often, that is not the case. I still remember being so angry when my second pregnancy ended abruptly. I woke up with a second babe on the way and went to sleep that night empty. There was no longer a baby in my belly and I struggled to praise in the midst of my pain.

This is exactly what Paul was meaning, however, when he said to give thanks in all circumstances.  He could say that because he had done that.  He praised in the midst of pain.

Often, we read these passages as mere stories.  We picture someone like Paul as superhuman.  Paul and Silas are imprisoned. We get that.  Yet, we picture them lounging in a prison cell singing songs. Gosh, maybe they are even laughing and joking with the guards.  If that is how we imagine them, we have missed the magnitude of their praise.

Paul and Silas were stripped naked.

They were then beaten with rods.

The crowds joined in on the attack.

They were thrown bloodied and beaten in a cold, dark cell.

Then, about Midnight, there was singing – but it was mingled with some groans of pain.

About Midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. – Acts 16:25 ESV

We are not exempt from witnessing to people because we are in pain.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  If you have professed faith in Christ. If you have talked at all about the goodness and greatness of your God. If you have ever quoted Romans 8:28 to some poor suffering soul. You better believe that, when trials come your way, people are watching to see how you respond.

Think how you have instructed many,
    how you have strengthened feeble hands.
Your words have supported those who stumbled;
    you have strengthened faltering knees.
But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged;
    it strikes you, and you are dismayed. (Job 4:3-5)

Are the “truths” you have spoken to others in their pain still true in the midst of your own pain? Please don’t hear me say that you have to put on your happy face and pretend all is well.  Do hear me say that there needs to be some praying and praising in the midst of the pain.

Because people, other hurting people, are listening.

*Repost from the archives

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