16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 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.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. 19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
So here we see the humanity of Paul. He became so annoyed by this demon possessed woman not leaving them alone and constantly yelling out “These men are servants of the most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved”. You would have thought that this woman was doing them a favour “announcing them and why they were here!” However she must have got in the way of Paul and Silas and his response was to deliver her of the demon. He sets this woman free from the demon and free from her “captors” who had used her bound state (slavery) to make money.
However, from this action of deliverance Paul and Silas are arrested, beaten with rods, severely flogged, shackled with irons and thrown far into prison. It seems their outcome is even worse now…. These days we read many stories of our brothers and sisters in countries where they are beaten, tortured, imprisoned and murdered for their faith. However the second part of this story has the most wonderful redemptive story for the jailer and his family.
In our lives through the good and the bad, through the success and failures God weaves in our story, a story of others within our worlds as well. Our testimony is never just about us. God is always using the good things plus our struggles and challenges to make a beautiful life when Christ is in the centre. God is at work whether we can see it or not.
Lord help me to keep my eyes on you. Help me Lord to affect others around me by setting them free and finding hope in the midst of challenges.
Written by Ps. Sue Botta