Ever felt like you were trapped in a cell like Paul an Silas?Locked, trapped, shackled, surrounded by four walls?
We’ve all experienced moments where we felt at a loss. Trapped. Suffocated. Isolated.
We all face trials and tribulations, some are bigger than others, some can even leave you in a situation of imprisonment. (Please for your own sake don’t let it get to that point).
So how do we get out of it?
How do we face our trials? Our moments of isolation and imprisonment?
Do exactly what Paul and Silas did.
Have you not heard what happened?
While imprisoned they started praying and praising.
What good did that do you ask?
They were freed.
The earth shook, the doors opened, the walls crumbled and they were freed. The romans weren’t too pleased but that was the least of their concern.
During their imprisonment do you know what Paul and Silas did?
They prayed, they praised, they prayed, they praised and then they did it all again.
Then they were taken out of prison.
God got them out…. broke them free…. a biblical Prison Break.
The full story of the events mentioned can be found in Acts 16:16-40; verses 16-24 discuss the events that unfolded that got Paul and Silas in Jail.
Verse 25-About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
Prayers and praising God during the good and the bad God can release the shackles that bound you, he can break those chains. In the case of Paul and Silas it was literal, he literally broke the chains and shackled and freed them from their bondage.
This shows that their is power in calling on the name of Jesus. There is power in praising God. There is power in keeping faith even when the odds are against you. There is power in the grand I am.
Father today I ask you to free me from this bondage. To break away the shackles and chains. God I ask you to shake the earth so your presence is felt. I am grateful for you dear lord. Grateful for the air I breathe, the life you’ve given me, the people in my life. I’m grateful and thankful for all the life lessons you’ve taught me along the way. Even when the odds it seemed were stacked against me, you showed me that no matter what I am here, with you, and you will surpass this. I Pray for you reading this. That God provides you with what you need to break the chains, break those shackles and free you from your bondage. Amen.
I was thinking about how the times are now and how much things have changed. Then I happened to see this image floating around social media.
Here is a modern day depiction of Jesus feeding the 5000 in 2017.
When Jesus fed the 5000, there were only two baskets with bread and fish. Two baskets to feed 5000 whom followed Jesus. Jesus prayed, he blessed the baskets and suddenly there was enough to feed 5000. Everyone at the time was beyond grateful. They were fed, were happy for this miracle for all were fed.
In the 2000+ years since this miracle you can see in this cartoon how much distrust we have in humanity, in one another, and even in ones faith.
How the enemy has infiltrated many of our thoughts. How we nitpick at everything.
Read the captions in the image and you see the following:
“I can’t eat that I’m vegan.”
“Has that fish been tested for mercury?”
“Is that bread gluten-free?”
This caption shows that in the midst of our struggles, while pleading for a miracle, we are being selective to the blessing we are to receive. It’s our way or the high way? Eat the fish or starve? Was there an expectation for a specific miracle?
Yes! That’s it! There’s usually an expectation.
Many of us accepts the miracles and answers we get from God when we are facing obstacles, struggles, trials and tribulations. Many of us see the struggle we are in and ask for a specific form of “miracle” or reprieve from the obstacle we are in. In doing so what we fail to realize is that, sometimes the answer we are looking for is not always the answer we want.
Sometimes to get through that obstacle we have to hear or do something we didn’t think or want to do.
If God were to be selective of our salvation the way we are selective in how we receive his blessings and answers, many of us wouldn’t be saved.
Picture God throwing tantrums like we do and saying:
“You didn’t kneel to pray, there goes your salvation”
“You didn’t pray enough, there goes your salvation”
“You didn’t fast enough, there goes your salvation”
God isn’t doing that.
Yes he wants us to pray.
Yes he wants us to kneel before his presence.
Yes he wants us to fast and make sacrifices for him.
He wants us to praise him
He wants us to Love him
Abide by his laws
Be kind to one another
Love one another
Help one another
But all in his glory.
Second guessing a miracle or a good act in faith, second guessing or being specific with an answer to help you face an obstacle is a problem.
How do we fix this problem?
We have to kneel down and pray. We need to realize that your way is not his way, and you need to accept that.
He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the creator of all things, the king of kings, one divine true Living God.
He knows your future.
He knows when your time on earth ends.
He had counted every hair on your body.
He is the answer to your obstacle.
He can give you the answer, take you out of that situation.
You need to trust in him.
Abide in him.
We are living scary times.
Times of xenophobia.
Times of homophobia.
Times of racism.
Times of discrimination.
Times of hatred.
Times of fear.
Times where to proclaim god is perceived as sin.
These times we are in can affect how we deal with our trials and tribulations. In order to overcome these trials in the midsts of the times we have things we need to do.
We need to listen to God.
We need to obey.
We need to hear.
We need to pray.
We need to fast.
We need to praise.
We need to trust.
We need to have faith.
In the midst of our struggles, obstacles, trials and tribulations we need to sometimes cross the valley of death, we need to face those challenges we do not want to face.
The ultimate reward will be worthwhile when we follow what God wants us to do and heed his advice vs being specific on how we want things. We can’t ask for a miracle and then want to omit certain aspects of the miracles.
Father I thank you. I thank you for allowing the obstacles, the trials and tribulations. Father these paths which include these hurdles I know are meant to teach me, to have my faith grow, to bring me closer to you. Father help me to listen more to you, so when you provide an answer, or when you bring forth a miracle that I accept all that you allow to answer the petition, to solve that obstacle. I ask for guidance during my tribulations my lord, for you to allow the Holy Spirit to manifest and guide me when I travel down roads not traveled, while I face challenges I do not want to face, while I have to do things I may not want to do. I know it takes work. I know I have to do my part. I do not want to nitpick my way to salvation dear Lord, nor do I want the easy way out. I do not want to be selective of my blessings. I want to learn, I want to grow and I want to be able to accept all that you provide me.
I really like the story of Job in the Bible.
In my personal life I reference it a lot.
Why did those troubles come before Job? (spoiler alert if you have not read the book of the bible).
Satan was traveling the land, he asked God Permission to trouble Job, he wanted to prove to God that Job would turn his back on his creator.
Job lost it all, his children, his properties, his livestock. He was ill. He was taunted by the enemy.
God allowed it though. He allowed Job to be taunted and tested. What he mandated was that his life be spared in this trial of faith.
It was a trial of faith.
His faith was tested.
Though he questioned God, Why me? Why this? God quickly put him in his place upon their confrontation. He questioned job (and rightfully so) “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:4).
God continued, “Who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?” (Job 38:6–7). “Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb” (Job 38:8). “Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads its wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes its nest on high?” (Job 39:26–27).
At the end of this interaction, their relationship deepened. The end result was Job was abundantly blessed, double with what he had before all was taken away.
What is my point with this?
We all go through struggles, trials and tribulations.
We have moments where we ask God why? Why me? What’s the justification for this?
It is not our place to ask why nor the justification. We are to build from it.
When I was pregnant with my younger son many things happened to complicate this Joyful moment in my life.
My developing son (fetus) was not fully developing his heart. I underwent various specialists, various scenarios were presented before me, some catastrophic which took a toll on me emotionally. I would never want to see not even an enemy endure the pain, heartbreak, emotional distress I went through.
The entire time I did question God, Why? Why me? Why my son? What is the justification for this? My son, the one you allowed me to have, my rainbow baby, my second miracle. (I was once told I could not hold a full pregnancy to term, here I am with two, God is Good).
I let that fester, and prayed more, confided in God more, I still questioned more. Then I reread Job. I cried, I apologized to God, I submit myself to him. I named My son after Him. Emanuel (God is with us). God surely is with us.
When it was time to deliver, I went through a scare. My son was born purple, no breath, no pulse, (i had no idea what was going on until after). CPR was given, chest compression was started, he was intubated and i was again in a pool of tears when all was explained that he was in the NICU.
He was born at 5:03pm with no pulse, not breathing, purple. He finally took his first breath and time of birth re-announced at 5:05pm. My miracle baby. His name was perfect. God is with us, Always! Every time we sat my son is name, we are proclaiming God is with us.
Despite my trial, my blessing came twofold. Mother of two miracle babies.
Despite my stubbornness and questioning, once I submit myself to him and apologize, my blessings came.
Thank you Father, for the opportunity you gave me to become a mother, not once, but twice. Science said it would not be possible, Science said it would be painful. You told Science I am the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the End, without me you are nothing. I pray for those experiencing problems within their lives, I pray for those facing problematic pregnancies, I pray for those lost within their trials and tribulations. May they stop asking you why and instead proclaim your name and renew their faith. Our Trials are lessons that make us stronger, they are also our testimonies to share, to renew the faith of others. Amen.