Delighting in Dungeons of Darkness

And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. - Acts 16:23-25

To be honest, the reaction of Paul and Silas has always been puzzling to me. Had I been in their shoes, I'm sorry to say that my attitude would likely not have been quite as pleasant. In fact, I imagine I could have thrown a rather glorious pity party. Lord, I did what You told me to do. I was following Your will. I was acting in Your strength. I did right. Why am I being punished? Why would You let this happen to me? Don't you care that I'm suffering? In the midst of suffering, I tend to forget all about God's promises. I forget that I'm not alone. I forget that I am sheltered in His arms. I believe Corrie ten Boom put it well when she stated, “When you're covered by His wings, it can get pretty dark.” Yes, in His wings there is safety, but that doesn't mean there will be no darkness.

Like Paul and Silas, we, too, can find delight in our dungeons of darkness. To do so, we need only use the same approach they did. First, we must focus on Christ and not the crisis. The more we focus on the problem, the bigger the problem appears. Likewise, the more we focus on God, the bigger He appears. Second, we can delight in the fact that we can identify with Jesus through our suffering. Our trials and afflictions give us just a small taste of what Jesus went through to ensure us a place with Him for all eternity. That realization alone ought to give us the strength to suffer more for Him. Third, we need to believe that God is in control. Nothing will happen to us that He does not allow. His will will be done, and isn't the fulfillment of His will the outcome we desire? One way or another, He will deliver us. The delivery method is up to Him.