“He [the jailer] then brought them [Paul and Silas] out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’” (Acts 16:30).
God slammed every door of my life shut tight. At first, I didn’t know where to turn. Nothing seemed familiar anymore. I couldn’t get my bearings. The room felt cold and dark. I have heard it said when God closes a door, He opens a window in the transition room. But no one ever told me those two acts were not simultaneous.
What do you do in a dark, lonely room? At first, I tried to get out. I felt for walls, banged on the door, jiggled the knob and got angry with God. I prefer to be in control and have a plan in place, thank you very much. But the more I struggled, the darker the room became and the less I could see what to do. I felt imprisoned. I was scared. When the window did crack and a smidgen of fresh air and light seeped in, I impulsively tried to force it open and make my escape. Futile attempt. I flunked that test. I had not yet learned to rely on God’s timing.
After I had depleted all my own resources, I plopped down on the hard, cold floor and blubbered for God to help me. I accepted that He was in control and all this had to be for a reason. I was right. God needed me to refocus and rely on Him before I could walk into the next room in my life.
Paul and Silas passed the lock-up test much better than I. When jailed, they didn’t panic or bang on the doors to get out. They sat in that cold, dark, smelly dungeon and sang. When the door did fling open and their shackles were loosed, did they dash out? No. Not only did Paul and Silas wait, they persuaded the other prisoners to wait as well. That is powerful faith.
I believe Paul heard God whisper, “I opened the door. I’ll tell you when to leave. Trust me.”
Because they waited, a jailer on the edge of belief was saved from a far worse prison, along with his household and untold numbers of others over the centuries who have read this story. They were saved from being eternally locked away from God’s mercy and grace.
By the way, I ‘m still in that transition room, though it is not quite so dark. It is certainly less lonely now that I realize God is here with me. I am not sure how long God wants me here, but if I can be obedient like Paul, He will find use for me here.
God has a purpose for each and every one of us at every stage of our lives. In the end, I believe He has prepared a room for me in Heaven. Until then, I plan to patiently stay in the one God has placed me and learn the lessons He wishes to teach me. I might even sing a bit.
Question: Do you feel trapped in a situation? Have you turned to God for help and direction? Do you think He is trying to teach you something?
TAKE THE NEXT STEP: Waiting for the sunrise
About the Author Julie Cosgrove