Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 6, 2011

jailhouse rocked

You could call it a modern-day version of the Beverly Hillbillies. My wife and I helped close our daughter’s apartment in New York City last week. Talk about surreal! We had a couch that wouldn’t fit through a door, an air conditioner that fell out of a window (two stories up), and a U-Haul truck with a defective side view mirror (picture driving through Manhattan this way). To top it off, we could not contact the storage facility we had chosen (because of the early winter storm they were shut down). What a tough day it was! But miracles still happen, even on chaotic days.

When I read about the life of Paul, it becomes obvious that he also had some trouble filled days. He was beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, put in prison and lost at sea. He also had times of sleeplessness, hunger and thirst. And here I am lamenting one bad day! Just this morning, I had the opportunity to observe how Paul handled one particularly eventful day and night.

Paul was living to proclaim the gospel of Christ. But in doing so, inevitably he ran headlong into conflict. On one particular day, he was beaten with rods and thrown into prison. It was a maximum security cell with leg irons! I believe we can assume that he was having a tough day. But then: Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose (Acts 16:25-26).  When God wanted to open the prison doors, He caused an earthquake. Paul could have run away, but he didn’t. He was used to lead the jailer and his family to saving faith. God ordained the events that Paul encountered, and there is a jailor in Heaven today thankful that Paul responded well!

As my wife and I were driving through Manhattan with a faulty side view mirror, there was no singing of hymns. In fact, we got irritated with each other. But thank goodness that when we found ourselves lost in New Jersey with a truck of furniture and no storage facility (and on a tight timeline), we did remember to pray. We were sitting in a parking lot, lost and frustrated. Then after simply praying, God who ordained our journey directed us to a wonderful storage facility, with electricity, within ten minutes. You may call it coincidence, but in our lives, it was a miracle.

When I see Paul’s perspective and then look at mine, it is easy to feel ashamed. I lost control of an air-conditioner and had a bad truck. He was beaten and in prison. Maximum-security cells are no issue for God, and my Father knows where all the storage facilities in New Jersey are located. God did a miracle for Paul, and the jailor came to Christ. And I am trusting that God will use our small miracle (in spite of my less than stellar attitude) for His glory.

You and I will probably have some tough days this week. And if we are not careful, a less than stellar attitude may overwhelm us. When that day comes, remember that our God who made the jailhouse rock, saved the jailor and found my wife and I a storage facility, cares for you. And if even if you forget to sing hymns, at least pray. Miracles do still happen! And lastly: Be like Paul, not like Mike!

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