Acts 16:26: ‘’Suddenly’’
“26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” NIV g
I love the story of the negro preacher who had his own take on this story. He said the Lord was so enjoying the music made by Paul and Silas that He started to stomp His feet. That foot-tapping in heaven reverberated on earth, causing the prison to shake!
It was one of those ‘’Suddenly’’ moments. There had been another on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:2). I’m sure that Paul and Silas didn’t pray just because they were in prison. It was their habit to pray. But after many ordinary days of faithful prayer, there can come the ‘’Suddenly’’ day, the ‘’Suddenly’’ moment. When God moves in power, big things can happen swiftly and dramatically; major problems are solved. God’s presence was manifested (see also 4:31). Someone observed that the jailer wasn’t about to become a convert to the ‘God is dead’ movement!
The ‘’chains’’ would have been securely attached to the walls and floors of the prison cell. Nevertheless, God caused them to come apart. It shouldn’t have been happening, naturally speaking, but God’s power made it happen. It is still true today that by God’s power prisoners of sin are supernaturally released. Hoe well Charles Wesley expressed it in a great hymn:
‘Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night,
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed thee..’