May 09, 2006

From Despair to Delight

Acts 16:22-34

The jailer ... was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God. Acts 16:34


The jailer had fallen asleep while a couple of prisoners were singing hymns. When he was jolted awake, the prison doors were open. He had failed miserably. He worried that his superiors might even torture him. He began to think suicide was the only way out.

Soon, though, he learned that he had overreacted. The situation was not as bad as he had thought. He had assumed the prisoners had escaped through the open doors, but they were still there!

In that moment of crisis, the jailer realized that those two singing prisoners had something he didn't have. How could he be saved? Paul and Silas gave a simple answer: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household."

Many people discover Jesus after a brush with suicidal thoughts. In many cases, they overreact to a situation that is not really as severe as they think. But at the time, everything seems hopeless. Just in time, however, something stops them from destroying themselves.

Then something wonderful happens. They realize that they are missing something. They start asking questions, and, like the jailer, they grow to believe in Jesus. Also like the jailer, they are filled with joy. They have come to believe in the one true God and Savior, the way from despair to delight.

Lord, you have saved many people whose despair nearly destroyed them. Lord Jesus, replace all my despairing, self-destructive thoughts with your joy and light. Amen.

About the author — David Feddes

Dr. David Feddes is pastor of Family of Faith Church and provost of Christian Leaders Institute, which supports mentor-based ministry training through online courses. David is also adjunct missiologist for Crossroad Bible Institute, which provides biblical distance education to more than 40,000 people in prison. Previously he served as broadcast minister for the Back to God radio program, reaching people in more than fifty countries. David earned his Ph.D. in intercultural studies from Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL. He and his wife, Wendy, have nine children (one in heaven).

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