May 19, 2009

Today's Word Among Us Meditation here:
We might wonder how St. Paul was able to turn his prison cell into a place of worship. If you had just been falsely accused, beaten, and imprisoned on account of doing God’s work, would you stay up all night singing his praises? You’d be more likely to give God or the jailer a piece of your mind, protest your unfair treatment, and then withdraw to sulk. When our lives take a turn for the worse, it can be difficult to even understand God, let alone praise him!

But Paul responded the way he did because his life had been steeped in prayer. His primary desire was to please the Lord. A few years after this incident, from yet another prison cell, Paul would write, “For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8). He had learned how to be content in any circumstance. It was Christ who gave him the strength to endure any situation (4:12-13), and not only to endure it but to rejoice and glorify God in the midst of it.

You may or may not be in jail right now, but each of us has had some situation in our lives where we may feel bound. Illness, unemployment, and unresolved family issues are just a few of the things that can lock us in prisons of anger or frustration. Don’t give up! If you do anything, try your best to praise God for his goodness and his mercy! He can lift you up above your immediate circumstances if you try to release them to him. Remember his promise: “They that hope in the Lord will … soar as with eagles’ wings” (Isaiah 40:31).

“Lord, I lift my heart to you in praise and thanksgiving. Help me to rejoice in you through all of life’s circumstances, good or bad. May I bless you at all times.”

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