The little conjunction “but” is one of the more dramatic words in language. It signals a change in course.
For example, if I say, “I went to the store,” you might imagine that I had purchased something. However, when I say, “I went to the store, but…,” all assumptions are off. Paul and Silas were brutalized in the city of Philippi. Their backs were laid open with rods carried by the magistrate’s assistants. It was common practice for a foreigner (a non-Roman) to be beaten, even before trial, as a means of gathering evidence or coercing confession. No effort was made to discern the citizenship of Paul or Silas. The beaten men were then placed in stocks for an overnight stay in the local jail.
At this point, we would normally assume that they suffered through the night and got out of town at the first opportunity. “But” at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. The outcome is completely unexpected. It is no wonder that the early Christians were accused of turning the world upside down – they were living upside down!
We could learn something from the Philippian prison choir. They turned a prison into a prayer room; suffering into salvation; and a jailor into a saint.
Reposted with permission from onehope.net.