He had failed at his job.
Tomorrow his troubled wife and family would share his shame.
Legal action would undoubtedly be brought against him. Prison time might be ahead...or worse. His position as head of a Roman prison made him responsible for the safekeeping of every prisoner in his care and to lose even one could seal his fate. Now an earthquake had shaken the prison so violently that stone walls had crumbled causing the prison doors to fall off their hinges and it only made sense to conclude that these desperate men had all escaped.
Impulsively, this troubled man drew his sword, intending to fall on it to escape his fearful fate.
Perhaps you understand the jailor’s despair.
The mountains you’re facing seem too steep to cross. Your present problems appear to be unsolvable. Fear rules your thoughts about the future and your strength to fight on is gone. Why continue to struggle against such insurmountable odds?
But this is the perfect time for God to show His love.
On the darkest day, God makes a way.
Now what about the man who considered himself a failure and didn’t see how he could face another day?
Did he survive?
If so, where did he turn for help?
Surprisingly, at this moment of desperation, a comforting call from one of the prisoners caught his attention and brought hope out of despair.
And this caring one, named Paul, along with his fellow prisoner, Silas, had been the
most unusual prisoners the jailor had ever encountered. During their darkest hour they had spent the night praying and singing praises to God (Acts 16: 25). In his moving article, “Singing in Chains,” appearing in Christianity Today, Mark Buchanan says: “Paul and Silas are bleeding. Their flesh blooms with welts bright as red roses, bruises dark as dahlias. And they are singing.”
When you feel like giving up, listen to those who care and understand the power of prayer. These praying ones, long to bring light to your darkest night.
Responding to Paul’s comforting call, the jittery jailor discovered things weren’t as bad as they had seemed. Instead of fleeing after the earthquake, the other prisoners had been so captivated by the presence of these two praying and praising ones that they had chosen to stay and pray. His assumption that he would be prosecuted because of lost prisoners was but a false fear, like many of ours when we’re terrorized by the unknown.
The man who felt like giving up discovered his need was to look up. Moments later, he responded to his praying prisoner’s invitation to trust the One who was once a crucified captive but arose to set us free. And the good news the frightened jailor discovered that night remains the same for you and me.