Will You Sing at Midnight?
by Sharon Betters
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21 NIV
Throughout Scripture we have stories of people faced with circumstances that crushed their plans and their dreams. Many were walking by faith, doing exactly what God was directing them to do.
Paul and Silas were imprisoned based on false charges (Acts 18). These two men were serving God in a way that led to transformed lives. Some of that transformation resulted in evil men losing money. These men then incited the community so that people severely beat up Paul and Silas and threw them into the inner prison – a dark, damp, creepy place. Then they were put in stocks. Their bodies were bruised and bleeding from the beating. Now they were trapped in stocks and unable to move. What was their response?
At midnight, they sang loudly and worshiped God. How could they worship, when they appeared to be punished for doing exactly what God told them to do? Have you ever felt that sense of injustice in your own life? What was the default mode of Paul and Silas that equipped them to sing at midnight?
The response of Paul and Silas to unjust imprisonment and beatings is a great example of how pushing life through the grid of a mission statement works.
Perhaps nowhere else is there such a succinct mission statement than the words spoken by Paul in Today’s Treasure:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21 NIV
Paul’s declared mission statement transformed his behavior in that dark, creepy, prison cell. Paul was a man like anyone else. Yes, his faith soars in the darkest of places, but don’t think he didn’t wonder if he missed God’s instructions. I imagine Paul and Silas whispering, “Do you think we misread God’s call? Were we too outspoken? Should we have left town when we knew trouble was brewing? Weren’t we doing what God told us to do?” We don’t know what they said, but at midnight, they broke out in loud singing and worship of the very God who could have protected them from this extremely painful experience. Their default system inspired them to worship in a way that everyone could hear.
This story brought me great comfort and instruction in the midnight of my life after the deaths of our son and his friend, so much so, that I developed a seminar called, Will You Sing at Midnight?.
Let this question roll around in your heart and mind today. Will you sing at midnight?
Oh Lord, the midnights of life terrify me. Thank you for people ahead of me in life’s journey who show me how to sing when the lights go out in my life. May I be one of those singers for someone coming behind me.