Paul was in prison when he wrote these words recorded in Philippians 4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Paul found himself imprisoned on several occasions and each time he found a way to look through his situation and see that God was using his suffering for advancing the Gospel. On one occasion he healed a demon-possessed girl who had been able to see the future while controlled by demons, but with her healing came the loss of her ability as a fortuneteller. Her master, who was making a handsome income suddenly found his asset to be of no worth. He formed a mob and had Paul and Silas stripped, beaten and thrown in jail. Finding themselves wounded in a cold, dirty prison, chained to a guard, without the benefit of medical attention, the situation seemed pretty dire and unjust. But rather than feeling sorry for themselves they prayed and sang hymns. It must have taken a great deal of strength and resolve to sing and praise God when everything around them seemed to be as bad as it could get. Yet, they found the strength and courage, and God caused an earthquake that shook the prison and caused all the prisoners’ chains to fall off. God brought about a miracle because Paul and Silas praised Him in the midst of their distress.
Scriptures – Ph 4:4-8; Ph 1:12-13; Acts 16:25-26
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Ph 4:4-7)
When you can’t breathe and are overwhelmed with fear, don’t look at the situation from your anxiety, look through your situation. Get a different perspective. Focus on what is going right. When you fixate on what’s going wrong, that’s all you can see and it will define you, break you, devour you. Instead of looking at your situation, look through your situation, like Paul and Silas did. Change your focus. Paul realized that good was coming out of his terrible circumstances. Despite being bloody and beaten, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns. That’s hard to do when you feel that everything is against you, but praise can change your perspective, help you see through your situation and help you realize that God is with you in the midst of your situation. Listen to Christian music, listen to the Bible through an app that reads to you. When you don’t have the strength to read Scripture and sing, you can still flood your mind, heart and soul with God’s truth. God’s truth will change your mind, and your mind can change your feelings. Anxiety and fear must bow to the truth of God’s peace, power and presence. Our God inhabits praise, so praise the LORD!
Nourish your mind with God’s truth. Read Scripture. Take time for a devotion each day. Pray. Listen to Christian music. Flood your mind and spirit with God’s truth. Then your feelings will begin to align with what you know to be true.
Gracious God, keep me grounded in your truth each day, so that when times are hard and my situation brings anxiety to my soul, I can draw from the strength I find in your word. May Your praise ever be on my lips…in good times and in bad times. I know that you want good for me. Thank you for being my Lord, my Savior and my good, good Father. In Jesus Name I pray, amen.