So, how is life treating you these days? Are you consistently happy and positive in your outlook and cheerful in your conversation?
Oh? So you do whine and complain, but very infrequently, and only when totally justified?
Take a look at two guys who had ten good reasons for complaining. Their shocking experience is recounted in Acts 16:11-40. Paul and his friend Silas recently arrived in a foreign city:
- They had done nothing wrong, nothing illegal, yet they were falsely accused,
- Yelled at by an angry crowd, probably insulted and cursed by them,
- Seized by the authorities,
- Stripped of their clothes by the arresting authorities,
- Beaten with “many stripes,”
- Thrown into prison, most likely a dungeon,
- Prison was dirty, dark, and smelly,
- Lawbreakers, likely undesirable-types were chained in the dungeon,
- Locked in the “inner prison,”
- Feet were fastened down in stocks so they could not move around.
Any of this happened to you recently? Anything even remotely similar to this happen to you at any time in your life? Do you have ten good reasons for complaining?
Well, you’d imagine as they sat there in the fetid darkness they would rehash the terrible things that happened to them. Or, perhaps they’d sit in angry silence, each blaming the other for over-reacting?
No, that’s not the case. They prayed out loud, sang praises to God and the prisoners heard them. No silent sulking, instead a lot of noisy praying and praising. Maybe even two-part harmony as they sang their favorite songs to God, perhaps praises from the book of Psalms, well known to all Jews.
When you are going through some undeserved or undesirable conditions is there another believer with whom you can pray and sing? Or, are you alone?
Someone you aren’t even aware of may be watching and listening to you. What can you do?
Putting on a brave front and gritting your teeth is not the answer. So, what is?