I recently dove into Acts 16 to study how Paul and Silas choosing to stay imprisoned after the earthquake was an example for us of how to choose the route that leads to God’s glory instead of our own freedom, our own way. It’s a phenomenal example of seeking God’s will above our own. In case we haven’t learned why his ways are so much better ours, I kept digging.
We know that God’s glory meant more to Paul and Silas than their own freedom because they choose to stay bound for the sake of salvation for the Jailer. If we stay in Acts a little longer, we’ll find out what came from their bold (and seemingly backward) decision to stay. I’ll tell you one thing, I think it’d be sprinting out the door as fast as I could hoping the jailer wouldn’t wake or follow. Perhaps after this digging in Acts, my feet will slow to God’s pace and see opportunities that may have otherwise been at my back as I was running. I hope the same is true for you, my friend.
The result of them choosing God’s will over their own freedom was:
1. The salvation of one.
The jailer was saved. They told him to be saved he must believe, and he did!
2. The salvation of many.
His family was saved. He and his household came to know Jesus because Paul and Silas were slow to run for freedom and quick to listen to God’s leading.
3. Their wounds were washed and they were cared for.
The jailer took them and washed their wounds (vs. 33). Right away, in the middle of the night, they were cared for tenderly and lovingly by a fellow believer. When we choose God’s will he will ensure that we are provided for and cared for through his people.
4. They were fed.
They were fed a meal of celebration by the jailer, now a fellow believer and friend because they stayed. They had the opportunity to spend time with the jailer, and they were nourished.
5. There was JOY.
They were probably smiling ear to ear because God was faithful to their decision to stay. Salvation, friendship, food, and celebration was the result of their faith in the Lord’s path to freedom vice their own.
At the end of it all, they were still released. Instead of through a dead sprint out of that jail, it was through release by a friend. The were still free, but it happened God’s way, instead of their own. This is the result of choosing God’s will, freedom his way which far surpasses our own.
So, will we choose to stay right where we are until God leads us into freedom? Perhaps he has so much planned for us in that jail cell if we would just slow to see his way far surpasses the plans we make while we are running away. Be encouraged, sweet friends, freedom is still the end result and when we find it his way it comes with so much celebration, care, nourishment, and joy.