25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” – Acts 16:25-28
This is a very popular passage of scripture in the Bible. Most Believers have heard this story before. Today I would like to share from a different perspective than you may not have heard before. In an earlier verse of Acts 16, Paul has a dream during the night that He was to go to Macedonia to help someone. After some time of traveling, Paul and his companions reach Macedonia. Shortly after they arrived, they were arrested.
This is where Acts 16:25-28 picks up. At this point Paul and Silas are in prison. Prisons back in Bible times were not like they are today. Back then prisons were very dark, no windows, no lights, only one door, and not even enough room to stand up in. When the violent earthquake happened and the doors open and the chains fell off. Personally, I would have looked at that as my way out of that dark horrible place! I would have been out of that prison immediately!
Paul and Silas do something very interesting here. Instead of saying “Thank you Jesus!” and making a run for it; they weighed the situation against the Word of God. They knew that running would only make the guards chase them, and that running from the authorities would not be following the will of God. (Paul later writes in Romans 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”)
Although Paul and Silas’ situation looked very far from the vision that Paul had where He would be helping someone, He knew that the door that opened in front of him was not the one that God would want him to go through. So instead, they waited. Shortly after this, the jailer showed up and presented another way out. The way the jailer presented gave a way for Paul and Silas to save someone who needed help. Not only did the jailer get saved, so did his entire family.
What happens in this story is that God presents another door to Paul and Silas to walk through. By waiting for the door that God had for them, they accomplished the mission that God had set before them.
How often do we try to force our situations to happen the way that we want them to? We run through every open door trying to get ourselves to where we want to be. Often what God really wants us to do is stop taking every opportunity that presents itself and start trusting Him exactly where we are.
Today I challenge you to not run through the first door that opens in front of you. Even if you are like Paul in that moment in prison, there was only one door, but God made another one for Him. Wait on God! I promise that He will bring the right door to you when the time is right. Have faith where you are today! God will lead you to the right path for your life.