Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK THREE
ORBIT – DAY ELEVEN
Hello and welcome to another week of Orbit. If you’re just joining us for the first time, Orbit is a daily Bible reading, with some thoughts to help you put it into practice in your life. At the moment we’re looking at the life and story of Paul, because he was someone who knew what it looked like to follow Jesus in difficult times and situations. He seems like a good example to follow right now.
BIBLE READING – Acts 16: 25-33
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptised at once, he and all his family.
What would you have thought, if you were in that jailer’s shoes (well, they were probably sandals)? You’d been given one job – to guard Paul and Silas – and then when an earthquake rocks the prison and shakes all the doors open… you sleep through it! Then you wake up, and of course you fear the worst… that all your prisoners have escaped.
You’d have been terrified, right? The passage says that the jailer actually drew his sword to kill himself, because he knew that a mass prison escape on his watch would mean his certain death anyway. This moment – where God has intervened, is surely the end of his life. I think we can imagine how he must have felt in this – his darkest moment.
But when the lights come on, that moment of darkness is transformed. The prisoners haven’t fled – they’ve stayed in their cells – and they’ve done it because, although they would rather be free, the jailer’s life matters too. In fact, to Paul it seems to matter more.
As a result, the jailer recognises the power of God – not just because of the earthquake, but also because of how Paul has behaved. If Paul’s faith means he didn’t run away even when the jail doors were open, then surely his God is worth following. The jailer is baptised – and soon his whole household follow suit.
Paul’s faith in Jesus tells him to care more about other people than himself, or his plans. And this story tells us that God cares as much about individuals as he does about grand plans to save whole nations. People matter, and following Jesus means putting our own needs last, so that we can love those people on his behalf.
We don’t often end up in prison-based earthquake situations. But we do often find ourselves faced with a choice – to look after our own needs, or care for someone else. It’s not easy – but Paul shows us that the way of Jesus is always to love others. By doing so, we might even save a life.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord, help me to see the people around me who are in need of my help – even when it costs me to give it. I pray that you would lead me into situations where my help can make all the difference, and that other people would see you through my actions. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge
Ask God for an opportunity to help someone. Actually, more than that, invite God to interrupt your day with someone else’s need for help. Look out for that moment – however big or small it might be – and then make sure you take it.
If you want to tell us how that went, or otherwise get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!