Bless This Mess

It’s happening again. You’re yelling at the kids to get their shoes on because “we’re going to be late!” While the rest of your neighborhood soundly sleeps, and is not taking in the beauty of another Sunday morning, you and your family are frantically running out the door trying to get to church.

We go to church for several very good reasons but some Sundays those reasons feel lost in the bedlam of actually getting there. We make it just in time to get the kids checked in, grab a bagel, and grab a seat. We consider it a success if we only miss most of the first song. It can be hard to shake off all that chaos and get into worship mode.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are preaching the gospel throughout Asia carrying out God’s call. Their activities landed them in prison. (v. 19-23) Not just in a cell but in the equivalent of solitary confinement with their feet in stocks. (v. 24) This was after they were severely beaten with rods. How did they handle this disruption? The Bible tells us that at midnight, they were praying and singing praises to the Lord. So loudly, in fact, that the rest of the prisoners heard them. (v. 25)

Somehow Paul and Silas could shake off their surroundings and create glory unto God in their terrible circumstances. While they were singing loudly and praying there was an earthquake and the doors flew open and their chains fell off! (v. 26) Not only did Paul and Silas’ chains fall off, but so did the chains of the other prisoners. Acts 16 continues on to tell how Paul and Silas’ praises had a huge impact on those around them: the jailer and his family, and quite possibly many of the other prisoners received salvation.

It can be hard to shake off the ordeal of a Sunday morning with all that goes along with coordinating your squad, but remember that when you can praise God in your mess it not only frees you but can free those around you.

Have a blessed week!