A Midnight Deliverance
Open Your Bible
Acts 16:16-40, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 1 Peter 2:19-21
BY Abby Flynn
I’m one of those people who loves to plan. Every year, I buy a new planner thinking it will somehow change my life. (It never does.) Then there are the planning apps I use to keep track of work, the house cleaning, and what we’re eating for dinner. This all drives my husband crazy, I’m sure.
But there is only so much in life that we can actually plan and control. A planner can’t show you an unexpected phone conversation with an old friend. Or tell you the week your kids will be sick and home from school. A planner can’t show us the opportunities God will bring our way before they happen. But God often does amazing things through those unexpected detours.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are on their way to prayer, when they encounter a detour of their own (Acts 16:16). The spirit inside the fortune-telling girl knew the truth about God’s power, and she followed them for days saying the same thing over and over. Eventually, Paul cast the spirit out of her (v.18). Her master’s response? They were furious to lose their livelihood, and took Paul and Silas to the chief magistrates, who threw them in prison (v.23). Now, Paul and Silas could choose to be angry and frustrated. They could feel bad for themselves, or stress about the fact that their plans were thrown off track. They could keep to themselves and be rude to the other prisoners. But that’s not what they did.
Instead, they used where God placed them as an opportunity.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
In a frustrating situation, they praised God. Paul and Silas prayed. They recounted what they know about who God is. At midnight, they worshipped. The best part about this whole thing? “The prisoners were listening to them” (v.25)
Paul and Silas’s direct response to their situation was faith. And because of how they chose to respond, they end up leading an entire family to the Lord (vv.32–34). A midnight deliverance probably isn’t what anyone expected. But the unexpected is often where God shows up and does the miraculous.
Maybe you’re like me—you don’t like disruptions, distractions, or things that mess up your plans. But I’m learning that sometimes, God uses our daylight disruptions to bring midnight deliverance. That means our response matters, even in the inconvenient moments of life. Our perseverance and faith in our hopeless moments are actually a way we can bring glory to God.
In the dark spots of our life situations, in the disruptions to our best plans, we have a choice to either praise or complain. Will we be found praising God?