Paul was arguably the most zealous preacher of the Word in the time of the Apostles. His dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus started him on a faith-spreading journey from which nothing could deter him… not even prison.
Paul was one of God’s most effective instruments. His multiple incarcerations were no accident. They were part of God’s plan. God warned the apostles there would be tremendous trials ahead for them. People would hate them, persecute them, and they would ultimately meet the same fate as Jesus for their faith. Paul’s life would be no different.
Jesus had plans for St Paul in prison. How God uses miracles to free those who seek him- whether they are actually incarcerated or imprisoned by addictions, afflictions, or circumstance.
During his first recorded jail time, Paul and Silas sang and preached while chained in an inner room of the prison. The other inmates listened to them. When an earthquake broke all their chains and all the doors of the jail flew open, nobody left. They somehow understood that was not the reason God opened their cells.
Acts 16:16-40 details how the guard charged with watching Paul and Silas took them home to hear God’s word and wash their wounds. He and his whole family were converted that very night. The book does not say so, but many assume the other prisoners were, as well.
When we are bound by chains- real or imagined- we need to sing out and recite God’s Word. In time, our own earthquake will come. Our chains will fall off and doors will open for us. When I took up the bible and rekindled my relationship with the Lord, anxiety was washed away. Social phobias and insecurities faded. My confidence was that I could do anything with Jesus at my side. He was… and I could.
Later, we again find St. Paul in prison. How God uses miracles to free those who seek Him is evidenced in Paul himself. Paul’s life in those years was far from easy. He lived under constant supervision in chains. But God had a special mission for him that would not be slowed. The Lord put favor for Paul in the hearts of the Roman leadership.
We know from the epistles he wrote during those years that Paul received visitors and had various companions stay with him to care for his needs. This was not just to make him comfortable. It was to help him with his mission of expanding God’s word.
Despite his circumstance, Paul converted a huge number of Romans. The whole atmosphere of the city changed. Rome’s ultimate change of heart toward the Christians is credited with the roots Paul laid down. Even some within Caesar’s family or inner circle were affected by Paul’s words and dedication to Jesus. It didn’t matter that they put St Paul in prison.
How God uses miracles to free those who seek Him is evident in today’s life, too. Countless prison inmates, drug addicts, pornographers, chronic drinkers, and physically afflicted have turned their lives around once they looked to Jesus. Seemingly meaningless lives freed from their limitations to become unbelievably productive and effective followers of Christ.
It can happen for you, too. Seek Jesus. Read His Word. Accept what seems miraculous. Put your faith in Him to free you from anything restraining you. You will find freedom. You will find hope. You will find salvation.