…Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God…
Do you know what happens to a balloon (filled with air) when you hold it over a flame? It pops. I am not a scientist but I am sure it has something to do with the air inside expanding due to the heat resulting in a popped balloon. But, do you ever feel like a balloon that is being held over a flame? You are being stretched and stretched and you feel like you are going to explode at any minute? The trials and troubles of life have just heated you up to the point where you just can’t take it anymore? It is a feeling most all of us can relate to, I am sure.
The story the above verse comes from is one where most people would have popped. Paul and Silas have been put into prison for doing what God had asked them to do. Paul, just before going into prison, seemed annoyed and exhausted. A combination that usually leads to an explosion (at least I know it can for me). But, instead of exploding they sang praises – right from their prison cell. In a trying and stressful time they found a way to rejoice. How did that do that?
Let’s go back to the balloon for just a second. The balloon popped because of what was inside of it. Now, if you fill that balloon with water and hold it over a flame it won’t pop (at least not as easily and not right away). That water that is filling the balloon will protect it from the heat of the fire. It really does matter what you put in it.
The same goes for us. What is on the inside matters. Paul and Silas were able to sing praises because God’s joy had filled them on the inside. They still experienced the stress, pressure, and heat of the outside world but it didn’t destroy them because of God’s presence in them. Paul once said that he has learned to be content in every circumstance because of God’s love for him – because of Jesus.
Allow God to fill you today – to fill you with His love, forgiveness, and peaceful presence. With Him you too will be able to sing praises in the face of trials. Paul and Silas experienced peace in prison and also freedom. As they sang their chains fells off. Sing praises to God today and watch Him lead you through the storm and free you of your chains!
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.