I will remember my song in the night.
– Psalm 77:6
It could be a story in the news anywhere in the world today.
This event, however, occurred two thousand years ago in the city of Philippi.
Two Christian men were on their way to pray with other Christians when they were attacked by thugs. The men were taken to the Roman magistrates in the city, where they were condemned and beaten.
According to the account in Acts, they had done nothing worse than free a young slave woman whose fortune-selling talent had profited her masters. For this sin, they were dragged before the authorities and thrown into the stocks of the inner part of the prison, probably because it was the most secure.
The men were the apostle Paul and Silas. The date was the first century after the appearance, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For all they knew, they would be there until they rotted. As the night deepened around them, they could do nothing buy lay wounded in their chains in the bowels of the earth. As midnight approached, they were too miserable to sleep. They couldn’t even escape for the few brief hours dreams could afford.
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.
– Acts 16:25-26
How did the men react to injustice? In the depths of the night, they sang. Chained in the heart of their prison, they sang. To the Lord of Light, they sang; the Voice of God reaching out in that hell-hole to the men in the other cells. They listened raptly, accustomed to the sounds of cursing in that place, but not to the sacred sacrifice of worship.
Someone else heard, too. God heard their voices lifted to Him, and He answered them out of the night. With a mighty earthquake, He shook the place, opened every door to every cell, and unfastened every chain. The jailer and his entire family were saved that night, and a prison full of dazed prisoners were released by the grace of God.
Praising God despite our circumstances frees us.
The enemy has no hold on a person whose heart cannot be chained by the indignities of life. That man is truly free.
When you are chained by circumstances beyond your control, you only have one thing to remember in the night:
Excerpted in part from the book Song in the Night by Pamela Thorson