God has a plan.
He has a plan for everything. He works in and through our lives to grow us, stretch us, and work through us, with the #1 goal of leading men, women, teenagers, and children to faith in Jesus Christ.
If we can remember that is the goal, we will find great encouragement and perspective even during days of difficulties and trials.
Paul and his friend Silas had been arrested, beaten and put under heavy security in prison in the city of Philippi, all because they were faithful to the Lord, helping a young girl find deliverance from spiritual oppression. Bottom line: they were persecuted and arrested for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in that city. They were now in prison awaiting their fate, whatever that would be.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped. (Acts 16:25-27 HCSB)
In the midst of this seemingly hopeless situation, Paul and Silas had their focus in the right place. Their focus was on God. Late in the night they were praying and singing songs of praise to Him. And the people around them noticed.
Something amazing happened next. God sent an earthquake to that place! The ground shook, breaking their shackles and opening the prison doors. The prisoners were unharmed and were ready to break out of the prison.
But they didn’t leave yet, because the Philippian jailor had his own situation to deal with. If these prisoners escaped, the jailor would pay with his life at the hands of his supervisors. So in a frantic state he was tempted to end his own life. But God had a plan for Paul and Silas to intervene in the jailor’s life to help him at his very point of need.
But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, because all of us are here! ” Then the jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? ” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” Then they spoke the message of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house. (Acts 16:28-32 HCSB)
When Paul called out to the jailor, the jailor was amazed. Perhaps he had been listening to Paul and Silas’s prayers and songs earlier. The earthquake definitely got his attention. The fact that the prisoners were still there after the earthquake was mind-boggling to him. He realized that he needed the kind of salvation that Paul and Silas had.
He asked the most important question that can be asked: “What must I do to be saved?”
Paul and Silas told him all about Jesus, and challenged him to put his trust in Christ. They shared the message of salvation with him and all the members of his household. What an amazing conversation that must have been!
He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized. He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had believed God with his entire household. (Acts 16:33, 34 HCSB)
The jailor and his family trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior! This was something to celebrate. Paul and Silas baptized them as a public profession of their faith in Christ. Then they all shared a meal together. Can you imagine the conversation? Amazing. What a celebration!
God’s Plan Includes You
So what about you? Do you realize the every situation God puts you in is an opportunity to bring the good news of salvation to people who need Christ? When you realize this, your focus will be in the right place, you will respond like Paul and Silas did, and God can speak through you just like He did through them.
Let’s celebrate. God has a plan.