Paul was in prison. Nothing new here. He had been in trouble in almost every city he went to. It seemed to follow him. What was different about this prison sentence, though, was the natural disaster. The doors were opened, everyone had the chance to run and leave, but Paul decided to stay.
The reason he stayed is amazing. If the guard had lost all of these prisoners he would have been killed. He almost killed himself to avoid the brutal punishment when he thought they had left. Paul saved the guards life by not taking the opportunity to run.
I think for most of us, we would see the wall opening up and making a way out as a miracle from God. We’d run through and tell everyone about how great God was to us. Paul saw something bigger. He saw a man who didn’t know Jesus. He saw a man who would die because of the works of Christians. He saw a man who needed to know Jesus. So he stayed. He didn’t take the shortcut, he didn’t escape to freedom, he stayed in jail so that someone else could know Jesus.
Is your faith that important in your life? Do you see those around you as people who need Jesus? Do you acknowledge the opportunities to make a difference for God’s kingdom? Do you see them even when it might cost you?
The jailer fell to his knees begging to be saved. His whole family was saved. He took Paul and Silas out, tended to their wounds and then they baptized him! Tell me you wouldn’t love to see Jesus do something like that in your life?? Tell me you wouldn’t want God to move in your relationships that way? He does, when we start seeing people the way he does. He does, when we follow him, even if it means staying in our own prisons when we see a cheap way out.