One of my first experiences flying was in a four passenger Cessna 172. My wife and I left college to spend the weekend with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Her dad suggested we eat breakfast in a nearby restaurant before going to church. I love breakfast. I love Sunday’s and I love eating out. The coup de grâce was when he wanted to know if we would like to fly to a restaurant in Beaumont, Kansas. Assured there was time to fly, eat, and get back in time for church the unanimous decision was YES! It was a unique experience.
Approaching the grass landing strip my father-in-law was forced to fly around due to some treacherous cross winds. It was a joy to watch him work the rudder and the yoke fighting the winds to bring the twisting bucking plane safely and softly down on the grass strip, taxi past the restaurant as patrons inside looked up as we passed, then park across the street next to a few other planes and past a few pick-up trucks. The landing could have produced fear and trepidation. Instead, it was a joy because I knew I was in the expert hands of an air force colonel with nearly thirty years of flight experience on a variety of aircraft. I watched from the co-pilots seat with confidence and admiration.
Paul and Silas, early Christian disciples, had a similar though much more serious experience as prisoners in a Roman jail. The book of Acts records they were praying and singing from their inner cell in the city of Philippi. The jailer further secured them with stocks on their hands and possibly on their feet. Their demeanor suggests they did not have a care in the world. They did not know if they would ever see the light of day or when. Yet, they were praying and singing; unusual. The other prisoners were listening.
The Greek word used indicates they were listening intently. The attitude and actions of these early Christians caused others not just to watch their suffering, but marvel at their response to it. There is intrigue, interest, and even openness to believers’ “answers” when they respond so unnaturally—so supernaturally—to difficulties. How believers respond to their troubles can play a major role in how others will respond to the Savior. The jailer did not just watch, but wanted to know how he could have what they did. People watch people, especially when they suffer.
What darkness do you find yourself in today? Is your world shaking like that Philippian jail did in the earthquake? What kind of prison do you feel surrounds you? Never doubt that God is with you. Like Paul and Silas you can relax and watch God work; even enjoy the struggle knowing the victory is assured. God loves you and will bring you safely in. People are watching. Fly with Christ!