Have you ever been in a situation or situations when you just need things to change? I myself have woken up many times and thought, “Ok Lord, I’m not going to give up, BUT something’s got to give…..when are things going to change!?” Sometimes it’s really easy to get fed up and fall into sheer frustration especially when whatever you’re facing is seemingly beyond your control. The problem is frustration leads to discouragement, discouragement to stress and stress never leads anywhere good. So, what do you do when you need a change? Let’s look at Acts 16.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. – Acts 16:22-24 KJV
Paul and Silas were beaten and locked in a grimy prison…..talk about needing a change. Can you imagine just how horrible their surroundings were? I bet Paul & Silas would consider todays prisons a paradise in comparison to what they were like in Biblical times. And let’s not forget, Paul & Silas weren’t in the prison because they deserved it, or because they had done something so wrong…….no, they were unfairly imprisoned just like some of the situations we find ourselves in today…….change please! I really can’t imagine what that must have felt like to be them with no change or relief in sight. I’m sure they just wanted to get out!!!
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. – Acts 16:25-28
The question is…..what did they do to get the change? THEY PRAISED GOD! Ok, hang on….I know when you are really going through some things…praising God can really seem like a “cliché church” answer. But, really…..what did the praise do for them….well it produced instant change in multiple ways: 1. It changed their focus – they went from seeing how big the problem was to seeing how big the answer was – your perspective is probably the biggest change you need. 2. Praising God allowed Him to get involved supernaturally – when we release faith in God despite how rough things look is when God does His best work — earth-shaking results. 3. Praise provided them the freedom from their bonds long before they ever left the prison.
Number 3 is really quite profound. I had read this passage of scripture so many times before without realizing that they were free long before they ever left the prison. Think about it. When the earthquake happened and everybody’s bonds were loosed and all the prison doors were open…why didn’t they all run for freedom? Isn’t that what they all wanted? I mean, even the guard rightfully assumed that everybody was gone. So, why were they still there to call out to the guard? I believe the reason why they didn’t run right out is because the true freedom wasn’t in escaping the prison…it was in the presence of the Lord. Paul and Silas praised loud enough for the prisoners to hear them……can you imagine what the prisoners must have been thinking seeing God not only come thru for Paul & Silas but also mercifully freeing them from their bonds as well. That must have turned into one mighty praise service right in the middle of that prison.
There is more peace and freedom in the presence of the Lord than in any situation or circumstance. Your change can come long before anything physically or naturally changes. God inhabits the praises of His people. As soon as you open your mouth to exalt Him, He’s there—right there in the midst of your trouble. And you know what, God never shows up anywhere without His power and His nature—more than enough! So, when you find yourself needing a change, when you feel you can’t take it another day, when you need peace of mind…..the answer is simple, yet profound…..PRAISE GOD.