In my devotions this morning, I was reading the story of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:25-40. How often have you heard about Paul and Silas praying and singing praises inside the prison, and the great miracle that God wrought in that place that night? As God shook the prison, the doors rattled open of their own accord and all the bands broke loose.
If I would have been Paul or Silas sitting there with the door open and the bands loosed, I think I would have immediately made a run for it. And why not? God had provided a means for their escape, didn’t He? Does God do the things He does for no reason? What is amazing to me is that not one person in that prison escaped, not one! We are tempted to say, “Boy, what a missed opportunity! These guys are nuts!”
As I sat and thought about the story, it occurred to me that Paul and Silas were looking at the big picture. Had they escaped the jailer would have been a dead man. The jailer, in fact, was so convinced that he attempted to commit suicide before Paul intervened. And had that jailer faced death, he would have stepped immediately into the flames of Hell.
So, why did God burst open those doors and crack open the bands if it was not for Paul and Silas to escape? I believe that it was an object lesson for the jailer, to show him the power of the God whom these men served Who could shatter the bands of death and hell in his life, and give him freedom from the power and penalty of sin! Thank God the jailer believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved that night!
Be careful, Christian, God sometimes wants you to miss opportunities that He seems to provide so that a greater opportunity can present itself later. What God does in this world goes far beyond just the circumstances of your life. He has a world that He is trying to save for eternity. What opportunities should you pass by? Don’t forget to look at the big picture from God’s point of view.