I read Acts 16 yesterday and thought about that question, “What if we believed we really were free?” Verses 25-26 say, “But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.”
This reminds me that my freedom is supposed to make others free. Paul and Silas may have been in physical bonds, but their circumstance could not steal their freedom. They were free men, inside and out. Verse 22 says that the crowds attacked them, the magistrates tore off their clothing and gave the order to beat them. As if that wasn’t enough, they were then given to the jailer who locked them up in the inner prison.
Paul and Silas didn’t respond with a few scripture verses and crying out, begging God to free them. I honestly don’t even think they were just “pressing through to praise.” I wouldn’t be surprised if their all night prayers weren’t even about their own freedom. I think these guys knew that they were already free. No crowd, no magistrate, and no jailer could take that freedom.
I wish I could access the video archives of heaven right now to see and hear Paul and Silas in that moment. What if, instead of suffering saints, they were confident free men who decided to stand in their freedom no matter what the circumstances looked like? Maybe their freedom was a spiritual force stronger than the prison walls. I used to read this account and think, “Wow, God sent an earthquake to free them.” What if in reality it wasn’t God moving the earth for their rescue, but two men with a mustard seed of faith that believed they could speak to a mountain and tell it to move? (Matthew 17:20) Jesus told them that with that little bit of faith, nothing would be impossible to them. What if they actually believed that?
Maybe we should stop looking at every challenging circumstance as a new rescue mission for God and start realizing that Jesus already went on the ultimate rescue mission. A mission that released us from all bondage, released us to the faith we need, and gave us true freedom. If we believe the verse from John 8, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed,” maybe we can begin to stand as free ones in every circumstance. Maybe if we stand unwavering in our own freedom, we will begin to see earthquakes that cause hindrances and bondages to break, not only off us, but off all the prisoners around us. How awesome it would be if we would stand in our freedom in such a way that even the jailers, the ones dragging others into bondage, came to know the truth and freedom? What if?