Acts 16:25 (ESV): 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,
Paul was traveling on his second missionary journey with Silas, having gone separate ways from Barnabus and John Mark. He first visited some of the churches that he had started on his first mission trip, and asked Timothy to join him.
After going through Phrygia and Galatia, Paul began hitting roadblocks. He wanted to go into Asia, but the Holy Spirit forbade him. He then desired to go up to Mysia, but the Holy Spirit stopped him again.
Finally, Paul had a vision of a man in Macedonia urging him to come and help them. Paul immediately set sail for that area and was able to have some progress preaching and teaching in Philippi.
But a demon-possessed slave girl followed Paul and his companions everywhere and undermined his message by loudly crying out that these men were servants of the Most High God.
Paul finally cast the demon out of the girl. The girl no longer was able to tell fortunes and her owners seized Paul and Silas, who were beaten by the city rulers and cast into prison.
With their feet fastened in stocks, a torturous practice, Paul and Silas were left suffering in prison for the night. But instead of crying out and despairing, these missionaries sang in their pain, and God provided an earthquake to set them free.
Paul and Silas provide a great example for how we should respond to suffering and indignity for the name of Jesus. Instead of moaning, complaining, seeking revenge, or feeling bitter, we should sing in the midst of our pain, entrusting ourselves to Lord Jesus.
Singing in the pain keeps our spirit sweet, demonstrates trust in our Heavenly Father, and robs our enemy of any joy he might feel in inflicting harm upon God’s people.
Heavenly Father, help me to respond to difficulties in life with singing praise to you. May my spirit be sweet and my attitude jubilant because of your love for me and my hope in you. Amen.