They stripped them, beat them with rods, flogged them with a cat-of-nine-tails, shackled their hands and feet, and dumped them into the inner dungeon. In the darkness, they sat bruised and broken, beaten and bleeding.
That reminds me of Amarillo today, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging and wreaking havoc. Our community’s hospitals are breaking records for numbers of patients, while increasing numbers of hospital staff members are infected or quarantined. Almost 39% of hospital patients are infected with the virus, and today there were over 400 new cases reported. Also today, there were an additional 10 deaths attributed to COVID. That’s approximately eighty deaths this month in Potter and Randall Counties. No wonder the hospitals had to bring in mobile morgues.
We’re all reeling from COVID-fatigue.
In Philippi, Paul and Silas were imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. They hadn’t done anything wrong, anything to deserve the harsh treatment inflicted upon them.
But the missionaries didn’t respond with bitterness. They didn’t curse their captors. They didn’t attempt a riot or a revolt.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25, CSB).
A few years later, Paul wrote back to the church in Philippi.
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7, CSB). Before Paul wrote it, he practiced it! He didn’t worry, he worshipped. And he could give personal testimony of the peace of God that provided and protected, ever during the darkest moments and under the harshest circumstances.
What’s your response to the pandemic? Fear and frustration? Worry? Anxiety?
How about worship? We have a Savior who saves, a Lord who loves, a God who guards and guides. He’s worthy of our worship!
One more quick note before I close... when Paul and Silas worshipped at midnight in the inner dungeon, all the other prisoners were listening. If the church would rise up to worship during this pandemic, I believe the world would take notice. If God’s children would faithful be the light of the world, the darkness would step back...
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor