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Paul and Silas At Midnight: Waiting, Praise & Fighting Demons

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

I didn't plan on recapping Acts in a third post, but here we are, the Holy Spirit's idea, not mine. I was listening to "Paul and Silas At Midnight" by Naomi Raine and Chandler Moore, a story I now have context to, having read Acts (16: 25 - 34). As I listened to the lyrics and heard "I won't hold my praise" repeatedly in the context of the story, I began to think about waiting.

Don't tell me what praise cannot do

Depression is unfortunately a state I am too familiar with. Not once, not twice, I have reached the point of not being able to get out of bed, not being able to silence the negative emotions in my head, being paralysed by fear, obsessing to cope, the symptoms go on. I know my depression well. I know when it's looming and at that point, I have a choice to fight for me by fighting it, or sinking into it. Paul and Silas had the same choice while in jail for spreading the gospel, and they chose to praise God. The prisoners were shocked, understandably so, these men that were thrown into jail for Christ, were calling out to him, boldly. Of course, God responded, equally boldly and in the midst of it all, the prison guard and his family heard the gospel and were baptised by Paul.

At times when I let my struggle overcome me, I let go of everything including my anchor Christ, even though I know leaning into him will make it at least bearable. It's as if I withhold my praise because of how I feel and convince myself there is no point, after all why should I praise when he let me enter the pit? In hindsight, the point at which I let that thought sink is where I let myself down because praise gives me a fighting chance. Praising as I fall, or at rock bottom is a bold statement. It shows the devil that I will hold on to my anchor no matter what, it shows that I have not lost hope, I believe in what the father can and will do, it means I will not despair. I will therefore not hold my praise, just because I'm in the valley.

Praise is a gateway.The sound of our faith makes the mountains move.

In response to his disciples (Matt 17:20) as to why they could not perform a miracle he had just done, he said that it is because of their unbelief, that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for them. Paul and Silas demonstrated that faith. At midnight when many others would have been sleeping, Paul and Silas sang to their Lord and he set them free. He not only broke open the doors of the prison, the prison guard who threw them into maximum security and chained their feet led them out!!!

The work I do when all is well, is what will carry me when all is not. A lifestyle of praise - praise when things are great and praise when they are not - makes it easier to exercise the muscle when things are dire. It becomes something I need and crave regardless of the circumstance. A lifestyle of exploring the word consistently, equips me with the stories to draw on; meditating on the word in the good times makes it easier to recall them, when things are not as good and we need support carrying on. The toughest thing to ever happen to me hasn't broken me. I saved myself further heartache by not acting on my feelings, because I recalled the word of God. I recalled my commitment to being an ambassador, because I have committed to that way of life. It is at the forefront of my mind, so even when I give into my flesh, I do it knowingly.

As I study the bible, and as I recapped in my last post, hard times aren't always the doing of the devil, sometimes it is part of God's plan. What having Christ does, is makes it easier to walk through the valley of shadow and death without fear (Psalm 23).

Depression is a very complicated and delicate matter. It is important to plainly acknowledge that, having experienced it and heard all sorts in the midst. Having said that, I have also exprienced depression differently based on how I've handled it and my faith and focus on Christ to heal me.

Let's build him a home with our praise. For nothing can hold back the Father's grace.

Paragraph titles provided by Naomi Raine and Chandler Moore.

I won't hold back my praise. Until next time, keep us a secret. x

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