by Linda Sue Pochodzay Edwards
Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian
"What's that noise I hear?"
"THAT noise! Don't you hear it? It's a strange sound. I haven't heard noise like that in a long time."
"Uh, do you mean that weird humming sound coming from the other end of the hall?"
"Yeah, that's it! I think it sounds like somebody is singing down there, but who in their right mind would be singing in a place like this?"
"NOBODY! It's cold. It's dark. It's damp. We don't get enough food to eat. And the little bit of food we do get, the rats try to snatch right out of our hands. It's awful in here!"
"Well, we ARE in jail, remember?"
"Yes! That's exactly what I mean! Who can find anything to sing about in a rotten place like this?"
"You don't think we are just 'hearing things' do you? Maybe we've been in here so long that we think the buzzing of the crawling bugs sounds like singing."
"No, I'm SURE I hear people singing!"
"Well, why don't you ask the guard when he comes by to check the locks. They do that every night, you know. That's the only way I even know it's night. It's dark all the time in this horrible place."
"You want ME to ask the guard? I can't ask the guard! The last time I tried to ask him anything, he took my pillow. Now I have to lay my head on this hard floor."
"Oh, all right then. I'll ask him. I'm not afraid of him. Besides, I don't have a pillow for him to take, and I'm a Roman citizen so I know that even if he gets mad, at least he can't beat me."
"GUARD! HEY, GUARD!"
"Huh? What do you want? HOW DARE you bother me when I'm checking locks?!?!"
"We just wanted to know what that strange sound is. It sounds like somebody singing."
"Yes! It's singing all right! It's those two crazy, new guys that came in earlier today. They're driving me crazy. I don't understand it at all. Their names are Paul and Silas and they call themselves Christians.
"They got beaten and thrown in jail for teaching people about that Jewish man named Jesus. All they have to do to get out of this place is to quit teaching about Jesus. But, NO - they won't do that. They would rather sit in this cold, dark, nasty jail. It sure doesn't make any sense to me! That's why I came down to this end. All they do down there is sing, sing, sing. Then they pray, pray, pray. Then they sing, sing, sing some more. It is irritating me and really getting on my nerves. I JUST CAN'T STAND IT ANY LONGER!
"HEY! WAIT A MINUTE! Why am I talking to you lousy prisoners? I've got work to do. You two are lucky I'm in a good mood today!"
The guard gruffly went about his business and the prisoners were left to wonder about Paul and Silas.
The singing continued on, and on, and on. The longer they sang, the louder it became. It was already midnight and they were still singing. It was becoming quite clear that NO ONE would be getting any sleep that night - with, or without a pillow!
SUDDENLY, the prisoners were gripped with fear.
"WHOA! WHAT WAS THAT?"
"Did I really feel the ground move?"
"OH, NO! I think the walls are shaking too!"
"That's an awfully weird noise I hear, and I'm NOT talking about those guys singing down there."
"Listen to the clinking and the clanking! I think this whole building is going to come down on top of us and we are all going to be buried under a pile of rubble."
"HELP! HELP! SOMEBODY GET US OUT OF HERE!!!"
When the earthquake was over, everyone breathed a deep sigh of relief and looked around. The walls had not fallen on top of them and no one was hurt. The really odd thing was that all the chains had fallen off the hands and feet of the prisoners. They were free to go, but they all just stood there, looking around in astonishment.
The guard had somehow found a way to sleep through the entire ordeal. When he awoke, he was very afraid. He saw that the chains were lying on the ground, and he thought the prisoners had escaped. He was sure he was in big, big trouble.
Paul saw how fearful the guard was and called out to him. "Don't be afraid. Everything is all right. We are all here. No one tried to escape."
The guard looked up in disbelief. They had their chance to get out of that dingy, dirty jail, but they didn't leave? He was very puzzled about it all.
He called for someone to get him a light so he could see for himself. He counted the prisoners. Sure enough. They were all there.
He was still trembling when he ran over to Paul and Silas.
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" he asked.
They replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."
The guard was so happy! He took Paul and Silas to his very own house. He gently cleaned the wounds they had received from the beating. Then he gave them good food to eat and a nice place to rest.
The next morning the guard had great news. He told Paul and Silas that he had permission to set them free.
1. Why were Paul and Silas thrown in prison?
2. Why were they able to sing joyfully in that awful jail?
Even on the worst days and in the worst situations, you can still sing and have joy in your heart.
A VERSE TO LEARN
"I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live" (Psalm 104:33).
Dear Jesus, thank You for being with us in every
situation. Help us to remember that we can be
joyful no matter what happens, because we know You
love us and care for us very much. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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