Immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (Acts 16:26)
In this age, God rescues his people from some harm. Not all harm. That’s comforting to know, because otherwise we might conclude from our harm that he has forgotten us or rejected us.
So be encouraged by the simple reminder that in Acts 16:19–24, Paul and Silas were not delivered, but in verses 25–26, they were.
First, no deliverance:
“They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace.” (verse 19)
“The magistrates tore the garments off them.” (verse 22)
They “inflicted many blows upon them.” (verse 23)
The jailer “fastened their feet in the stocks.” (verse 24)
But then, deliverance:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God . . . and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (verses 25–26)
God could have stepped in sooner. He didn’t. He has his reasons. He loves Paul and Silas.
Question for you: If you plot your life along this continuum of Paul’s initial suffering and later deliverance, where are you? Are you in the stripped-and-beaten stage, or the unshackled, door-flung-open stage?
Both are God’s stages of care for you. He has not left you or forsaken you (Hebrews 13:5).
If you are in the fettered stage, don’t despair. Sing. Freedom is on the way. It is only a matter of time. Even if it comes through death. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
— John Piper