At midnight, though beaten and in prison, Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God. Even in trial, the Lord puts a song of praise on our lips. David’s best psalms came as he poured out his heart in times of testing. God is bigger than any storm. He can transform your pain into praise.
Having lost in a fire virtually everything they had owned, the Spafford family made new plans, including a move from Chicago to France.
Horatio Spafford planned the trip for his wife and four daughters to be as trouble-free as possible. To transport them from America to France, he booked passage on a huge ship, and made sure they had Christians with whom to fellowship in route.
He planned to join them a few weeks later.
In spite of much careful preparation, Mr. Spafford’s plans suddenly dissolved when the ship carrying his loved ones was rammed by another vessel and sank, carrying his four beloved daughters to the bottom of the ocean.
His wife arrived in Wales safely nine days later and telegraphed her husband the awful news that all four of their children had drowned.
Spafford left Chicago to go and bring his wife home. As they cross the Atlantic, the captain came and told him when they were passing over the spot where his daughters had died.
At that place, Horatio Spafford took a pen and paper and wrote these words while passing over the spot where his daughters perished:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It took great faith for Horatio Spafford to write those words.
God took the worst experience of his life and turned it into a song of praise and hope.
God can transform our pain into praise.
The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…
When should we praise God?
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
It is easy to sing praise when everything is going well.
But what of when we face struggles and disappointments…
In the midnight hour.
Paul and Silas were suffering. They had been beaten, and thrown into a difficult prison.
In the prison they experienced the great grace of God.
They received everything they needed transform this time of pain into a place of praise.
(25) And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, The Psalmist : and the prisoners heard them.
(26) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
Rejoicing is a discipline that we can learn.
Paul and Silas never stopped praising the Lord.
As Matthew Henry has said:
“Days of trouble must be days of prayer; when God seems to have withdrawn from us, we must seek him till we find him.”
“In the day of his trouble the psalmist did not seek for the diversion of business or amusement, but he sought God, and his favor and grace. Those that are under trouble of mind, must pray it away.”
In the night of trouble we can have a song.
Elihu said to Job…
But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
Job said I know that my redeemer lives.
God is my maker.
God gives us a song.
And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
In the night seasons…
He brings joy in time of sorrow.
Job knew all about the night seasons…
The night pictures calamity, a time of trial, sadness.
Even in times such as that God can help us be thankful.
He fills our hearts.
He puts a song of praise on our lips.
We sing, by faith.
We sing because we love Him.
We sing while we work.
(17) Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
(18) Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
(19) The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
Yet will I rejoice.
When we are tested, we can sing.
David could sing, even when I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…
David’s sweetest songs came in his worst of times. In the darkest hours.
As he sought God’s presence.
We can find hope.
Even in sorrow or suffering.
We sing for God’s glory.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Now Paul wrote these words while he was in chains in prison in Rome.
Paul suffered in many ways, and yet he did not lose heart.
When you despair.
When life is unfair.
You can find peace and praise.
While on a short-term missions trip, Pastor Jack Hinton was leading worship at a leper colony on the island of Tobago.
A woman who had been facing away from the pulpit turned around.
“It was the most hideous face I had ever seen,” Hinton said.
“The woman’s nose and ears were entirely gone. She lifted a fingerless hand in the air and asked, ’Can we sing Count Your Many Blessings?’ ”
Overcome with emotion, Hinton left the service. He was followed by a team member who said, “I guess you’ll never be able to sing that song again.”
“Yes I will,” he replied, “but I’ll never sing it the same way.”
Again, reflect on the words that Elihu said to Job…
But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
Let’s learn from Elihu, Job, and this saintly leper.
Let’s face life in a different way, with a song in the night. Yes God leads his children on with a song.
Some through the water
Some through the flood
Some through the fire
But all through the blood
Some through great sorrows
But God gives a song
In the night season
And all the daylong.
Even in the night season.
Even in the midst of tribulation.
In many of the Psalms the writer is telling his soul to worship.
It’s not about how you feel.
You pour out your soul…
You don’t have to feel like it.
The psalmist poured out his heart…
(1) As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
(2) My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
(3) My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
(4) When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
(5) Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
(6) O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
(7) Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
(8) Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
(9) I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
(10) As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
(11) Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Turn to the Lord for your comfort.
Praise God in the storms.
In the night seasons.
(1) To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
(2) I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
(3) He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
(4) My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
(5) Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
(6) They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
(7) My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
(8) Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
(9) I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
(10) For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
(11) Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.
David said, my heart is fixed.
His heart attitude was fixed on this. He was fixated on rejoicing.
No storm of adversity would stop him.
When we rejoice we thank God that he is in control.
1 Thessalonians 5:16
We are saying we trust in God.
Seek the Lord – in the midst of the storm.
(28) Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
(29) He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
(30) Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
(31) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
Continue to praise God.
Praise Him in your trials.
Praise Him in your times of trouble.
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
(1) To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(2) Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
(3) Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Rest in His control.
Sing of His unfailing love.
When your heart just wants to cry out in a shout of despair.
Trust Him that he is working.
It’s been said that:
In adversity we usually want God to do a removing job when He wants to do an improving job. To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the storm.
In the day of trouble He is ever more where we should turn.
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
Rejoice – with joy unspeakable…
1 Peter 1:6-9
(6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
(7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
(8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
(9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Our rejoicing is not found in our circumstances.
We can find joy even in the midst of trials.
Even in the darkest of night you can find his help…
(1) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
(2) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
(3) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
(4) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
(5) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Cry out to Him…
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
(2) From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
(3) For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
(4) I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
David’s best songs came out of his troubles… His griefs…
(1) I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.
(2) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
(3) I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
(4) The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.
(5) The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.
(6) In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
Give Him the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thank Him for what he is doing.
God is faithful.
(8) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
(9) For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
2 Corinthians 6:10
As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing….
(10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(11) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
(12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
2 Samuel 22:7
In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
God is bigger than any storm.
God commands us many times in His Word, “Sing!”
Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.—Psalm 81:1.
O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things.—Psalm 98:1.
O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.—Psalm 96:1.
I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.—Psalm 101:1.
I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live.—Psalm 104:33.
God can turn your pain into praise.
The Lord will complete the good work He has started in you.