Today’s Scripture: And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Acts 16:27-28

Rats scurried across the grimy, damp prison floor. The air was heavy. The musty odor of molded bread, dirt, and unclean prisoners filled his nostrils. Darkness surrounded him and Silas as their sore limbs lay bound in rusting fetters.

Their singing was suddenly interrupted by an earthquake. Their bonds were loosed, and all the prison doors were miraculously opened. Even though he was probably in pain from his open wounds and heavy fetters, famished from lack of food, and covered in the filth of the prison cell, Paul desired to help.

He saw the jailer ready to kill himself in the midst of the chaos. Rather than attending to his own needs, Paul reached out to the man and led him to the Lord.

When we are tired and hurting, we need to follow Paul’s example. Instead of pitying our own pain, we need to focus on the needs of others. By doing this, not only will we be a blessing, but we will also find more joy in our own lives.

Your finances are tight and you were just diagnosed with a terminal health condition. How do you react? One of your close family members just passed away. How do you cope? When you dwell on your pain, you will only sink deeper in depression. Minister to someone else. When you are helping others despite your hurting, you will find the blessing and joy of the Lord.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder