Freedom through praise
"Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing."
They both had just been beaten to within inches of their life before being tossed into a deep, dark dungeon, with their hands and feet shackled. For what horrendous crime did they commit for such a punishment? They dared to preach Jesus!
Take a trip back there with me and let us sit silently in a darkened corner of that dungeon, and let us observe what might have happened.
It is midnight; they sat there bloodied, bruised, and possibly confined to the point that they could not even tend to their own wounds. They found themselves in a dark, damp, and dirty place with no idea of what the enemy had planned for them tomorrow. As we sit there and observe, in the darkness we hear Paul begin to hum the tune, "He Set Me Free".
Bewildered, Silas whispers through his pain, "Paul, do you think that we will get out of here alive?"
Paul stops humming briefly to answer, "To live is Christ and to die is gain!"
Silas then hears Paul sing, "Once like a bird in prison I dwelt, no freedom from the sorrow I felt, but Jesus came and listened to me, and glory to God, He set me free." Hearing that, Silas feels the warm gentle peace of the Holy Ghost flow over him and he joins in unison with Paul's praise. Suddenly, there is a shaking, and the chains and stocks fell away, the prison doors flew open, freedom had come!
Maybe what Paul and Silas faced, you too are facing today. Maybe your dungeon is a spiritual battle, a place of questions. Maybe your dungeon is of a physical or emotional nature, where you need to feel that healing touch; but it seems to have evaded you. Maybe it is financially based, and the riches of glory have yet to come to fruition. Maybe it's all of the above, and to top it all off, it seems to be the blackest midnight of your life! The Bible tells us that Saul would call on David to play his harp and sing, and it would speak sweet peace to that troubled soul.
There have been many times in my own ministry where the enemy tried to cloud my mind with doubt and worry to the point that I did not know what laid beyond the next bend, but it was then that God put a song in my heart and as I began to praise, God began to answer and the prison doors flew open; freedom had come.
If you are a child of God, he has promised that freedom will come, but I stand firm in my belief that sometimes God expedites freedom by the way we respond to the fear. So throw your head back and begin to belt out a praise like you have never praised before.
God will give you a song to sing at midnight and your freedom may just lie beyond its next refrain.