Faith Stories: Praise in the Midst of Trials
The crowd joined in the attacks against Paul and Silas, so the authorities ordered that they be stripped of their clothes and beaten with a rod. When Paul and Silas had been severely beaten, the authorities threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to secure them with great care. When he received these instructions, he threw them into the innermost cell and secured their feet in stocks. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. — Acts 16: 22-25 (Common English Bible)
One day recently, I crashed the church website after it was hacked. Without getting technical, I basically wiped out all of the design so nothing looked right. And I didn’t immediately know how to fix it.
To say I was stressed was an understatement. I also had toddler Jane needing attention when all I wanted to do was focus on the problem, stare at my computer and FIX IT!
Instead we went to the park, and when we were back I tried something new. I fixed one problem – success! – but introduced another.
The day continued this way, and I was so upset and unhappy about the whole situation. Eventually I got the site in a stable state and hopefully safe from another attack.
At Bible study that night the lesson was on Acts 16, including the story of Paul and Silas in jail with their feet secured in stocks. The leader explained how the stocks were likely devices that kept their legs locked in a spread out position putting great pressure on their hips and causing immense pain, on top of the beatings they had already received. They didn’t know if they would face death in the morning or what was next. So at midnight what were they doing?
Praying and singing hymns! And the other prisoners listened.
In the midst of tremendous suffering they sang and prayed. Shouldn’t I, then, attempt to sing and pray when doing something I love in service of the church, even when it is stressful or annoying? I’m trying to approach my website service with this new attitude.