Have you ever seen a dungeon? I have. It was an experience I’ll never forget. It was unearthed under the library in Old Quebec City, Quebec. These tiny cells were barely tall enough for a person to stand upright in, and you could easily touch both walls. Dirt floors, cold stone walls, no windows, and a bucket for a toilet; it was a place to be forgotten in. And some were. Skeletons were found in a few of the cells.
Oh, did I mention the chains?
Paul and his friend Silas found themselves in a similar prison. You can read the account in Acts 16, starting at verse 16.
Paul cast a demon out of a girl on their way to meet up with fellow believers for prayer. She was happy, her handlers were not. They accused Paul of threatening to cause a riot. They had him and Silas arrested, publicly stripped, beaten, and tossed into prison. Bloody and bruised from their beating, they were put in leg irons and chained to a wall like common criminals. Things couldn’t get more hopeless.
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. The other prisoners were listening to them.
Singing? Weren’t they in pain? Weren’t they angry? That prison couldn’t imprison their faith. Even if they never got out, they would still worship God, right there, in that prison. They sang loud enough for everyone to hear. And those songs reached deep into the hearts of each prisoner there.
I like the next verse:
Suddenly, a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the jail. All the doors immediately flew open, and all the prisoners’ chains came loose.
Paul, Silas, and every prisoner there was free. Their rejoicing released not only themselves but the entire prison population!
As the chains fell off and doors flew open, no one moved; no one escaped or even tried. Their freedom was more than chains could bind and walls could hold. Their hearts were set free. Those loosed chains were only the physical sign of their freed hearts.
Do you feel like you’re in a prison? Sometimes, you don’t need physical walls to feel imprisoned. I encourage you to worship in your prison. I’m not asking you to pretend your problems aren’t real. I know it isn’t easy, and there are days when it’s downright impossible.
Worship because of your chains. Worship because God knows all about it. As you worship, as you glorify Jesus in all your prisons, something miraculous happens. Your heart becomes free.
You never know who is listening and watching. You could be the very person to help free someone else’s heart.
I kept my faith even when I said,
“I am suffering terribly.”
God’s Word Mission Society welcomes Wendy Miller Bartsch, a GOD’S WORD Ambassador. As a young adult, Wendy moved to Northern Canada as a missionary. During those years, numerous moves and life challenges deepened her faith and trust in God. Being creative at heart and wanting a way to express what God was teaching her, she started writing devotionals for family and friends and posting them on Facebook. With much encouragement, her first book Selah was published in August 2022.