I'm the early riser in our family, so it's not uncommon for me to be in the bathroom around 6 a.m.; the only one awake. Now, I have made a science of being quiet in the morning so I don't wake up my wife or anyone else who might be sleeping.

So I was startled one morning when I heard the gentle strains of a song. I had never heard this in the bathroom before. I recognized the song as "It's a Small World after All." Well, here I am in this already dazed condition, and I could not figure out where the music was coming from. Was there a radio on? No radio. An alarm? No. Did somebody leave a music box in here? No music box. I searched high and low. Finally, I found out where it was coming from. Believe it or not, the song was coming from the roll of toilet tissue. Uh-huh. Yes, my wife had rigged the tissue with this little device that plays a song every time you roll that thing. You chuckle and say, "Oh, no!" Well, that's nothing. Downstairs in the main bathroom, it plays "The Star Spangled Banner"! That unexpected music sure got my attention, and it brightened up a bleary time of day.

In Acts 16:22-25 of the Bible, Paul and Silas are not having a good day. They have been preaching the Gospel in Philippi and the crowd is attacking them. It says, "The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell 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."

God sends a violent and dramatic earthquake that lets Paul and the other prisoners loose, and it ultimately leads to the jailer and his family turning to Christ. It might seem odd that Paul and Silas were singing at midnight. You say, "Wait, something's wrong with this picture. They have been stripped, flogged, imprisoned, put in stocks, and now they're singing. What's going on here?" You might expect this verse to read, "Paul and Silas were complaining at midnight," or griping or feeling sorry for themselves.

Something is not wrong with this picture. Something is right. This music couldn't have come from anything around them - it had to come from inside them. Their singing got people's attention. The verse says the other prisoners were listening. You bet they were! Here are people facing the same hardships, except they're doing it with joy rather than a negative attitude.

Maybe you're going through one of life's long nights right now, and you've taken a beating. Maybe you've been stripped of things you care about, or you're in one of those prisons that doesn't have walls. How are you handling it? Are you like all the other prisoners, or is Christ inside of you giving you the grace to sing when you would otherwise sink? A positive attitude and joy are not feelings, they are choices.

Focus on your Lord, as Paul and Silas did with these hymns. Fill up on Christian music. Quote the verses and the promises. Focus on your opportunity. Paul and Silas probably looked around and said, "Hey, we have a captive audience; there are people watching us now who will see how we respond to this." People watch you when you're in the midnight darkness more than any other time. The greatest impact of your life comes at the time of greatest pain. If you let God take this moment, He will give you unexplainable grace and joy that will lift you and everyone around you.

No one can ignore your life if it produces music when they least expect it.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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