I'm not saying that you should be happy about your problems. I don't think Paul and Silas were saying, "Thank you for beating us up and throwing us in prison." They were hurting, but they chose to look at their Savior instead of their pain. They sang songs in the night.
Faith gives you the ability to sing in all sorts of difficult and devastating circumstances.
It's not easy, but it's a command of God to walk by faith. In order to truly do that, we must get rid of despondent thoughts.
Second Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
If we didn't have the ability to do that, God never would have recorded it in scripture. How do we knock down and destroy despondent thoughts? By trusting Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith and singing songs in the night.
One Particular Flight…
I travel hundreds of thousands of miles a year preaching the Gospel of Jesus. Many flights are uneventful, but one was a particularly difficult and potentially devastating circumstance.
Everyone boarded the plane and we took off. As the plane began climbing in the air, things started to go wrong. I didn't know what was happening, but by the looks on the flight attendants' faces, something was definitely up.
We got to the right altitude and the plane leveled out in the air. Things seemed to be going all right when all of a sudden I heard something go, "Baddoom!" Something on that plane exploded! The people went nuts! They were screaming and hollering as the flight attendants ran down the aisles trying to calm everyone.
The plane started going down! It seemed slow at first, but then I began feeling the force of going down. My body said, "This is it, boy! This is the big one. Kiss yourself good-bye!"
We were all in a terrible situation. Almost immediately my spirit took control and I said, "Bless God, before I die, I'm going to get someone saved by the power of Jesus."
I began to pray and shout. I said, "How many of y'all need to know Jesus?" All of them said, "Oh, yes!" (You can get people saved in an airplane crash.)
I said, "Just say this real quick, 'Jesus, forgive my sins and come into my life.'" They all said it, it was wonderful! It knocked out all fear, and we prayed for a miracle. Thank God the plane landed, and we all survived. Glory!
Now I could have had despondent thoughts about dying or wondering what would happen to my ministry, but instead I sang a song in the night, and God was glorified.
Paul and Silas, in the midst of their terrible circumstance, sang a song in the night. It may have been midnight physically, but it was morning in their souls. Their faith gave them the ability to see beyond their circumstances.
Our Unseen Audience
Paul and Silas had an unseen audience: the prisoners heard them. The jailhouse where Paul and Silas were held was for criminals, but their songs sanctified that place of cruelty. The evidence is in the fact that when the earthquake came and made a way for escape, no one left.
The criminals had a chance to be free but stayed. They were shocked, not by the earthquake, but by the songs and praises. They were astonished by the men who were not cursing the jailor, instead they were praying for him.
If something is terribly wrong in your life right now, it's time to start singing! Even if you don't feel like it, make a joyful noise of praise to God. An unseen audience may hear you and be changed forever.
Happiness Should Be Our Business
Have you ever walked into a room that was cold, and people were depressed? Did you chase away the gloom? Did you light a fire and say, "Jesus Christ can minister gloriously today!"
It is always more blessed to give than to receive. You never know the true worth of something until you share it with others. We must share the truth of Jesus Christ with those around us.
Sometimes the only way to do that is to sing a song in the night and let your light shine. Suddenly, cold rooms will light up with the love of Jesus.
While sitting on another plane, a man came in with two little girls. They were about four and nine years old, and they sat right next to me. He hugged them really tight and he said, "Okay, your mom is going to meet you. Don't worry about anything, the stewardess is going to take care of you. Daddy loves you."
The little nine-year-old started to cry softly. The four-year-old looked over, saw her sister and began to cry too. The father got up and walked out, trying to hold it together.
The little four-year-old looked over at me and stuck her head in my side. I grabbed them both and said, "Everything's going to be all right." They were snotting up my clothes, and I didn't even care.
I asked them, "Your mom and dad are not together anymore?"
"No," they both said very sadly.
"You want them together, don't you?"
They shook their heads, "Yeah."
I asked them if they knew Jesus. The nine-year-old said, "We go to Sunday school when we visit my Daddy."
I said, "Well, you know, Jesus knows what it is to be separated from His family too. He was separated from His Father for a while. He had to leave His Father, like you had to leave your father. He knows what you feel like, and He loves you.
"I know it hurts, so the next time you feel those pains, ask Jesus to help you. Sometimes mommies and daddies make mistakes, but Jesus will never leave you." I held them both and prayed for them.
When I finished, I looked up and the stewardess had stopped, and about six rows back everyone was crying.
When the plane landed, I walked out with the kids and met their mother. I talked to her about what had happened, and I said, "Sometimes we forget how much children can hurt. I know it's not easy being a single parent. You may have some hard times in your life, but Jesus can help you and your kids."
It was a real blessing for me to minister to that family. Faith gave me the ability to sing in the midst of two little girls' difficult and devastating circumstance.
An unseen audience listened. I was totally involved in the pains of the two little girls, yet people six rows back were listening, and their hearts were touched by the love of Jesus.
As I told the girls about Jesus and His love for them, it chased the gloom away. As the light began to shine in the plane, I didn't have to argue with anyone. People were moved by the Holy Spirit.
You too can be a light in a dark place. Let your light shine and sing a song in the night. You don't have to try to change anyone, just let the light of God bring the ministry of cheerfulness into their life.
Cheerfulness is infectious. Even in the midst of whatever circumstance we're dealing with, we can pass it on!
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers