When Paul first came to Philippi on his second missionary journey, he freed a female slave from demon-possession. Her owners were enraged that they could no longer charge admission for people to have her spirit tell their fortunes. They were so angry that they stirred up a crowd, and Paul and Silas ended up beaten, imprisoned, in chains, their feet in stocks.
Paul and Silas had not chosen this, but rather than being dismayed by it, they were praying and singing hymns in the middle of the night in their chains. And the other prisoners were listening. When the earthquake came and the doors of the prison fell open, the chains fell off. The keeper of the prison was about to commit suicide because he thought that his prisoners had escaped, but Paul and Silas called out to the jailor not to harm himself. They had not run away from their chains, nor had any of the others.
That was when the jailor asked them about salvation. They told him of Jesus, and he and all his house were baptized. So Paul and Silas’s beating and imprisonment, far from being a hindrance to the Gospel, was actually the avenue through which the Lord reached this jailor’s household, and advanced the Gospel.
Kingdoms wide that sit in darkness,
Grant them, Lord, the glorious light;
And from eastern coast to western
May the morning chase the night
And redemption, freely purchased, win the day.
Fly abroad, eternal Gospel;
Win and conquer, never cease.
May Thy lasting, wide dominions
Multiply and still increase!
May Thy scepter sway th’ enlightened world around!
(The Lutheran Hymnal, 505:2-3)