Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” Acts 16:25-28 (NLT)
Paul and Silas were in prison, shackled with huge ankle chains. They had just been severely beaten. There are a couple of things that made me say "What?" as I read this. The first amazing thing was they were praying and singing. So I can kind of get that. You are in prison, shackled; it is conceivable that as a Christian you would go to God. What I find completely astounding is what happened after the earthquake. They stayed put! Here you are, singing and praying - I'm assuming they would be praying for their release right? There is an earthquake so violent the doors fly open and the shackles break free from your ankles. Wouldn't you see that as a sign from God that you should get out of there? I would think "Look! God answered our prayers. Let's go." But they didn't.
The next verse says that after the jailer realized they were still there he said "Tell me about this God you serve." I am sure he was thinking "You are different because of him." And he'd be right. What would motivate two men to risk death or at a minimum another beating just to save this man? Paul talks about it throughout the New Testament.
Paul met Jesus, he was convicted that he was the Messiah and he knew he was called to participate in this Great Adventure. In 2 Corinthians 5 he explains some things that give us a clue as to his mindset. In 2 Corinthian 5:13 he says "I know we may seem crazy but it is for God's glory." He knows that the things he does sounds nuts - like staying in a prison when you should be running - but he is living out his passion. He also says that since Jesus died for everyone and people who say yest to that invitation no longer live for themselves. Instead they live for Christ. And everyone is so important that we stop looking at each other from a human perspective but see people from a God perspective. (vs 15-16) He goes on to say that now our job is to show people who Jesus was and to reintroduce them to God. We are God's ambassadors. We are here to help people grow in their relationship with God. (v 18-20)
Paul very clearly knew what his mission in life was. It is the same mission we all share. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, our calling is to share Jesus and love others so passionately that we will even be willing to sacrifice ourselves for it. I know that last statement ruffles some feathers. It is not our nature to put ourselves last and others first. But God says we should and Jesus did. It takes a relationship to be able to get there. The Great Adventure we are called to is not normal. It is not logical. But it is the Adventure of a lifetime. Nothing else will compare. And as Paul says "We may seem crazy but it is for God's glory." Let the Adventure begin!