Thriving while in Prison

Author: John & Barbara Windler 
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, …” (Acts 16:25a ESV)

Over the last couple of weeks, I spent some time reviewing how some disciples handled stressful situations.  As I looked at the situation Paul and Silas were in, the word “thriving” came to my mind. They could have been overwhelmed, or angry, or one of many other emotional responses; but instead, they took refuge in their relationship with the Lord and grew stronger through it as they saw God work in miraculous ways.

Our family has felt the same way.  We are choosing to take time as individuals to continue growing in the Lord through online relationships and training.  One such resource is the video series Tetelestai, which we have watched together as a family.  We also realized that this was an important opportunity to get some work done that had been put on hold, due to more urgent ministry needs.

In turn, we were excited to see the fruit of years of discipleship as believers locally have been coming by our home and rather than expressing how much they were suffering during this situation, they have been expressing how the Lord has given them wisdom and has been caring for their needs during this crisis.  

Here  is something that I (John) experienced recently:
A local church in the USA gave a special donation towards a deacons fund, to help those here in Paraguay where needed, and I had the privilege to give it directly to a Pai Tavytera pastor. In fact, the other day, the pastor's wife told us that there is a lot of work available, but it isn't legal. Therefore, her husband doesn’t want to do that kind of work.  As I talked to the pastor, he attested to that as well. He said that some people speak of “luck,” when really those gifts come from God. He said that one of the guys was fishing and caught a big fish (that his family needed for food), and what are the chances of a big fish at just the right moment swimming by where he threw his net, unless God himself orchestrated it. This pastor was expressing how he recognized that this donation came to him by the hand of God.

Together, we can see God at work on our behalf, notwithstanding the circumstances.

May we, like Paul and Silas, keeping focused on our God and Savior, and not on our circumstances.  If we do that, we will continue to be like the enduring, stable tree spoken of in Psalms 1, whose roots extend deeply to the source of water and continued to grow and thrive, despite the conditions surrounding it.

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