A few casual snowflakes whirled in front of my cold face as I took a deep breath and tried to steady my nerves. I remember the fear that gripped me as I waited for my turn for the ski lift. Heights. I’ve never been a fan of them, but this was the first time I was going to ride a ski lift all by myself. As a shy fifth-grader afraid of heights, the thought seemed a little overwhelming. Suddenly, it was my turn as I pushed myself to the dreaded lift.
They sat in a cold damp cell. Their backs screamed with the pain of the flogging they had received a few hours earlier. Their pinched hands throbbed in the metal chains, and their feet slowly started to grow numb in the grip of the stocks. It had all happened so fast. They remembered the demon possessed slave girl’s screams as she followed them day after day. Finally, Paul turned around and commanded, “…In the name of Jesus Christ come out of her,” (Acts 16:7) and she was finally freed from the demons that had plagued her life. Unfortunately, not everyone was excited by her newly given freedom. In the eyes of her masters, her value plummeted as they realized their fortune-telling slave no longer existed. Then, the riot started. Paul and Silas were dragged to the marketplace and placed in front of the authorities. The two men remembered the frenzy of the angry mob. They recalled the torn clothes, the rods beating their bare backs. Now, they found themselves in a cold cell. Shadows started to form as the cold made them shiver. Then it happened. They started to sing.
I sat down on the cold metal. The lift moved higher and higher. My palms started to sweat. I don’t remember how the thought came to me, but suddenly I started to sing. It was a soft whisper of “Jesus loves me,” barely audible in the cold wind that grew louder as the ride continued up the mountain. The higher I got the louder I became. Slowly, my fear started to dissolve into peace as I sang that cold winter day. I’ll never forget that moment in the Pennsylvania mountains.
Paul and Silas kept singing too, and then the unthinkable happened. The earth shook and their chains broke. We know the rest of the story. We often focus on the end of the story, the moment when the jailer gave his life to Jesus because of this incredible event. More recently, however, this midnight adventure has captured my attention. In this current political, economic, and health crisis—hold on. In the isolation and fear squeezing tighter around your heart, I dare you to sing. Pull out your headphones and listen to that jam with God and you. Roll down the windows as I dare you to remember that God is still here in the middle of our fear. Feel the wind through your hair as I dare you to relax in God’s presence that exists in the middle of human chaos. I dare you to sing through your fear.