Have you ever experienced disaster, disappointment, set backs only to see God show up and do something amazing? I know I have. Sometimes what seems like a set back leads to a divine appointment. But for any setback I have had, it would pale in comparison to how the church in Philippi got started.
To understand Philippians, we should first look at Acts Chapter 16 for the backstory.
Paul and Silas were in town. They were looking for a place to pray when they encountered some women. One of them, Lydia trusted Christ. She invited them to visit sometime. Another day Paul and Silas went to pray again, but were followed by a slave girl. In Acts 16:17 we read:
She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”
After doing so for many days, Paul got annoyed and commanded the spirit that possessed her to depart from her. The spirit left her. Her owners instead of being happy for her to be freed, were angry they lost their source of income. Not exactly nice guys. So they dragged Paul and Silas to the town magistrates who ordered Paul and Silas to be beaten with rods and thrown in jail.
The jailer’s orders? Acts 16:23- the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.
Paul and Silas had a response one would not expect from two guys who were beaten and thrown in jail. Acts 16:25:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
What happened next would get anyone’s attention. Acts 16:26:
Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
God moved big time. The doors were open. The jailer having thought he failed in his duty was about to fall on his sword, but Paul stepped up. Acts 16:28:h
But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer responded in Acts 16:30
He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
After hearing the gospel from Paul, the jailer came to faith. He took Paul and Silas home with him and all of his household came to faith in Jesus. The jailer tended to the wounds of Paul and Silas and fed them.
That is how what we consider the Epistle of Joy was birthed. Not exactly a modern day church planting strategy, but the results were amazing. For two thousand years, Christians have been blessed by the Epistle of Philippians.
So dear reader, when we find ourselves in adverse circumstances, let’s try to remember what God can do through them.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.