It is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. (John 16: 7)
Can you believe Paul and Silas stayed in prison? Really, if an earthquake broke my chains and swung the cell door open, I would interpret it as a sign from God and make a hasty exit.
So why did they stay? A whisper in my heart said: freedom isn’t escape from prison. You see, they were already free. It appeared they were beaten, chained and trapped in prison, but through their prayers they were united to the Advocate within and were truly free. They exercised that freedom and choose to look inward, to listen to God’s counsel. Freedom opened their eyes to see the work needed right there. In the midst of their suffering, because they surrendered their will to God’s, they became God’s blessing to the jailer and his whole household. Their hearts were open to his plan, so they didn’t miss the blessing hidden in their suffering.
So I prayed, “God, what ‘prison’ is making me miss your blessings?” Most recently, it was my never ending to-do list. If anyone interrupted my plan to check off all today’s boxes, they were soon sorry. When I surrendered it at Jesus’ feet, my eyes opened and saw that what I thought was an aggravating interruption was actually God’s to-do for me. My to-do list had become a prison complete with checkmark boxes as chains and my prideful accomplishments as warden.
Today let’s realize we are free and pray in “prison” lest we miss out on God’s abundant blessings.
Partner in Mission, C.PP.S. Sisters of O’Fallon, Mo.