It’s easy to be happy when everything is going well, when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. But when the bottom drops out, when adversity hits and you’re still rejoicing, that is another thing altogether.
In the book of Acts, we read of a time when Paul and Silas were preaching the gospel in Philippi. The authorities had them arrested, beaten, and thrown into prison. Yet at midnight, with their feet and wrists in stocks, they prayed and sang praises to God.
Then we come to this interesting detail: “the other prisoners were listening” (Acts 16:25 NLT). In the original language, the phrase means “to listen with pleasure.”
Have you ever been driving along when you heard your favorite song on the radio? You turned it up. You listened with pleasure.
I don’t know if these other prisoners had ever heard anyone sing songs of praise to God before. And I don’t know whether Paul and Silas threw in some two-part harmony. All I know is that it was an unusual set of circumstances.
Suddenly a massive earthquake shook the prison walls, which gave the prisoners an opportunity to escape—if they wanted to. The Roman jailer, knowing the penalty was death for losing his prisoners, pulled out a sword and was about to kill himself.
But Paul called out, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” (verse 28 NLT).
This hardened Roman fell down on his knees before Paul and Silas and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (verse 31 NLT).
Instead of complaining, Paul and Silas gave praise to God. Instead of moaning, they were worshiping. And as they gave glory to God, it reached other people as well.
Sometimes God allows hardship in our lives so He can be glorified. When we’re suffering, we can glorify Him despite our circumstances.