“But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”” Acts 16:28
One of the old tactics of the enemy is to “isolate and destroy.” In the African jungle the lion has a peculiar way of hunting. It tries to isolate a prey from the herd and then devour it. That’s exactly what the devil tries to do. When we are passing through tough times, he suggests to us that we keep away from those who can help us. Then depressive and suicidal thoughts set in. Some people end up harming themselves.
In this story, we find Paul and Silas in a Philippian jail. They were thrown into prison because God had used them to deliver a demon-possessed girl. They were wrongly accused and jailed. At midnight, Paul and Silas began to pray and sing praises to God. All of a sudden there was an earthquake, the foundations of the prison were shaken and their chains were loosed (Acts 16:25-26).
The jailer, being awakened by the earthquake, concluded that the prisoners had all escaped. He knew what his fate would be if that was the case so he decided to take his own life. Paul, who probably was watching the unfolding incidence, shouted out to the jailer, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” At this point, the jailer was probably not thinking about his family and all the people he would leave behind, all he wanted was to end it all.
Life can make us feel all alone at times. When you are going through certain situations you hear a thousand voices saying to you, “there is no hope, just end it all!” Sadly, many people have given in to this voice. They never had the chance of knowing what could have happened if only they had held on to the end.
The devil wants to make us feel that we are all alone, that no one has ever gone through what we are going through and survived. He wants us to just give up and die. But in life, we all go through difficult times, and as Dr Robert Schuller has aptly said, “Tough times never last but tough people do.”
The truth is that no matter what you are going through, someone else has been through it and survived. You just probably have not read or heard their story. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Both Peter and James advised that we shouldn’t consider anything we face now as exclusive to us. Other people have gone through similar situations and obtained a testimony (James 5:10-11; 1 Peter 4:12-13).
Elijah thought he was all alone. God shocked him by making him know that there were seven thousand faithful people in Israel who had not compromised their faith (Romans 11:4). So, he wasn’t alone after all.
Just know that we are all here. Many of us have been there and God eventually delivered us. He will come through for you too, sometimes just at the nick of time. Refuse to give up and don’t give in, rather hold on to the end. “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13).