Acts 16:22-25 – The crowd rose up against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had severely flogged them, they threw them in prison, ordering the jailer to guard them securely. Receiving such orders, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them….
Paul and Silas had been unjustly accused, arrested, condemned, severely beaten, and imprisoned. Not only so, but as Roman citizens entitled to legal due process, their treatment by the city officials of Philippi had been entirely illegal.
Yet here we read that Paul and Silas, wrongfully shamed and humiliated, fastened in stocks, bloody, bruised and in much pain from their flogging, turned their dark dungeon into a sanctuary of praise to the Lord. The other prisoners listening in had certainly never witnessed anything like this before! What an impression! What a witness! The manifest presence of “the Holy One who inhabits the praises of His people” (Psalm 22:3 KJV), had to have filled that place!
No matter where we are, no matter how dark our situation or how miserable our circumstances, we too can create there a holy sanctuary, a sanctuary of praise! We too can bring about an invasion of God’s glorious presence into our place of trial and suffering, by “offering up a sacrifice of praise to God” (Hebrews 13:15).
Now, as then, exhibiting a spirit of praise to the Lord in our hardship will be a powerful testimony to those looking on. And now, as then, worshipping God in our affliction will minister profound comfort and strength to our own souls. As Pastor Joseph Garlington has applied, “The Father is looking for worshippers [John 4:23]. So if you are looking for God and you just can’t seem to find Him, stop what you are doing and worship Him–and He will come and find you.”
Where in your life situation today do you most need to enter into a sanctuary of praise?