Time for Change. Will it Take an Earthquake?


For some 2022 was a year of hardship. A year they do not want to repeat. For others, it was a year of success and they want 2023 to build on it. Whatever last year was like, or whatever you hope for in the new year, I pray the Lord God will bring a spiritual change that will impact the rest of your life. Such is one man’s story from centuries ago.

According to the Bible, there was once an unknown jailer who oversaw the prisoners in the ancient city of Philippi. It was part of the Roman Empire. As he was working in the prison, he overheard an uproar in the city. Soon the doors were swung open and authorities brought him two men named Paul and Silas, and ordered them bound. He had never met the men before. They were from out of town and had been beaten and bloodied by officials. He learned they were arrested for promoting some type of religious customs that were foreign to the citizens of Philippi.

The jailer put the men in the inner prison and fastened their feet with stocks. Then he went back to his routine business, spent the night at the prison and eventually fell asleep.

Paul and Silas though, never slept. In the midst of the dreariness of the prison and the pain from their wounds, they decided to sing. They started singing hymns of praise and thanks to God. Their voices rang throughout the prison, so all the other prisoners were listening.

As they were singing, something happened. The prison began to shake violently, like an earthquake had hit. It was so violent, the cell doors of the prisoners broke loose, along with their chains.

The chaos awoke the jailer. When he saw what happened, he drew his sword to kill himself, believing all the prisoners escaped. When Paul saw what the jailer was about to do he called out, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” (Acts 16:28) The jailer then came to Paul and Silas, and fell before them trembling. He knew these men were different, and how the earthquake was a result of them and the God they served. He brought Paul and Silas out of the prison and urgently asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Ac. 16:29) For this is what they had been speaking to the people about in Philippi. The jailer wanted to have what they had.

Paul and Silas gave him a simple response, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Act. 16:31) They explained the gospel further, and after hearing more, the jailer and his whole household committed themselves fully to Christ.

Then immediately everything was new. The jailer became a new man. He also had a new family, new friends in Paul and Silas, a new joy, and a new future.

God sent two men, along with an earthquake, to carry the good news of Jesus to an unknown jailer, that he might have a new beginning. No matter what your 2022 was like, nor what you hope 2023 will be, God wants to bring a spiritual change in you this year. Will it take an earthquake? Will something have to so rock your world for you to finally listen to God? Will He bring some unknown people in your life with an important message? Will you listen to what God wants to say through them? Today, may your life have a new beginning like the Philippian jailer and his family.

A prayer for you. “Lord God, as we begin this new year may people commit themselves fully to you and be transformed like the jailer. May people finally stop resisting and willingly yield their lives fully to you, the One who died and rose again for them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Please share your comment with Clint at cdecker@greatawakenings.org and follow his blog at clintdecker.blogspot.com.