The Illusion of a Night’s Slumber … The Truth of a Day’s Awakening

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose…. The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’” (Acts 16:25-26, 29-30).

I was trapped in the dark of a school hallway. Lights were flickering, people were scurrying, and the trees were bending their surrender to the ferocious mandate of the wind. I could hear the rain pounding its cadence upon the metal roof above me. I could hear the cries of children as they tried to make sense of the surrounding chaos.

Imprisoned by the bedlam and instructed that my remaining as such would be the best option for my personal safety, I decided to wait it out even though a huge part of me cried out for my release to the wild and treacherous of the outdoors.

I didn’t wait long.

Instead, I walked the darkened hallway toward the entrance of the school and turned the final corner on my fear. When I did, my eyes opened, and I was greeted by the brilliant sun beaming its illumination through my bedroom mini-blinds and welcoming me to a new day of living.

Ah … the illusion of a night’s slumber.

What I thought to be real only moments earlier was but a dream working its way out of me in order to teach me a lesson about darkness and light. About perceived captivity and about the choice I have to walk free from its chains into the marvelous light and life that is mine as a child belonging to the Light.

Sometimes my freedom is as simple as a rolling over from my right side to my left. Sometimes, a bit more involved. But all the time, freedom is available. Never am I stuck in my chains. Even when I’m shackled by situations that require my surrender to an iron’s holding, walking in the freedom of God’s light is always my option.

Paul and Silas understood that option. They chose it, and in doing so, a great and mighty midnight happened upon a Roman prison cell. Doors were opened, and chains were loosened. And while some would have justified this mighty act of God as their permission to escape, Paul and Silas chose to remain.

Not because they didn’t long to be free, but rather because they knew that they already were.

Long before an earthquake released them in the physical, Jesus Christ had released them in the spiritual. No amount of dark and dank and torture of a prison cell could keep them from knowing what they already knew to be true in their own hearts—that the cross of Jesus Christ brings freedom to all who choose to shackle their hearts to its pulse.

And while the enemy is ever content and vigilant about stoking the fires of our perceived captivity, God is holy and perfectly content to stir us in another direction.

Not with the illusion of a night’s slumber, but rather with the truth of a day’s awakening.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1).

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Where the Spirit of the Lord was then … where he continues to be now … is with those who have chosen his Light over darkness. His truth over the illusion of a night’s dreaming.

God is not a figment of our wild imaginings. We don’t wake up in the morning and discover that he’s not real; rather, we wake up to the contrary—to the exponential manifestations of his presence in our day to day. Some have unsuccessfully tried to confine the person of Jesus Christ to the contextual isolation of a historical manuscript. But God’s Word cannot be chained (2 Timothy 2:9). He cannot be managed and manipulated so as to fit into man’s need to have everything make sense.

Rarely does the grace of Jesus Christ ever make sense. Instead, Christ came to shatter our “1+1=2’s” with his “One + our 1 = infinitely more than we can possibly ask for or imagine.” Indeed, this truth runs contrary to common sense, yet it is exactly the one truth that kept Paul and Silas remaining in their prison cell, even though an earthquake had released them from their chains.

They were waiting for the outcome of God’s equation, not theirs, and in the end, his answer came in manifold measure—

The salvation and corresponding freedom of a jailer and his entire household.

That, my friends, is the truth of a day’s awakening—the real and realized embrace of a Son’s illumination in our hearts and through our lives. We hold the freedom to carry that light into the illusion of this world’s nightly slumber. It is our high and holy privilege to do so. Thus, I echo the plea of the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the believers at Ephesus,

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light … for it is the light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said, ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” (Ephesians 5:8, 14).

Wake up you weary and well-worn pilgrims. Arise and shine, for your Light is come. Today is the day of salvation. Turn and receive the truth of your glorious awakening!

As always,

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Copyright © February 2009 – Elaine Olsen


PS: I’ve posted this song before and am doing so again because it so aptly fits the truth of what I’m trying to say. Have a blessed rest this weekend. Be safe. Be God’s. And if you are confused about what that means … to be God’s … please e-mail me, and I will happy to pray things through with you. I love you all! I mean it.

26 Responses to The Illusion of a Night’s Slumber … The Truth of a Day’s Awakening

  1. This was such an insightful post, and so much truth to absorb. Your have a gift as a writer. Have you ever written any books or articles? If not you should definitely consider it. Thanks for sharing–may we all walk in the light. Donna

  2. Oh Elaine. What an incredible reminder of the freedom we have no matter how “shackled” we may feel. You just have a gift for teaching this way. I am so privileged to be under your teaching. Thanks.

  3. The best! So well crafted. Such a compelling truth. May we never live in chains as though thye’re a required accessory. May we always live free in the marvelous Light!


    P.S. Whevever we sing(roar) this song at church it brings the house down!

  4. Elaine, Satan has lost us (believers) for eternity, but he is literally hell-bent on neutralizing and paralyzing us, robbing us of our freedom and joy in Christ and preventing us from furthering God’s eternal kingdom plan. But, all praise to God that “… if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

  5. This was beautiful, Elaine.
    “Even when I’m shackled by situations that require my surrender to an iron’s holding, walking in the freedom of God’s light is always my option.”

    I want to choose to walk in His freedom and leave the shackles behind! The song that is playing in my head is Mary, Mary’s “Shackles!”

    Happy Valentine’s Day, sweet friend!

  6. Oh friend…what TRUTH! I will be printing this off and sending it to my friend who is actually in prison. She’s shining a light in that dark place and this will be a wonderful tool for her to share in her ministry inside those walls.

    Love to you on this heart day,

  7. Praise the Lord… we know the truth… makes you sad for those who don’t!! How long will they listen to the lies of the enemy?

  8. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Regardless of our circumstances……… We need to always remember that….. Some days I do not feel free, but feeling is not required !

  9. I’m so thankful that 2 Cor 3:17 has become truth for me, BELIEVABLE.

    I’m so thankful Friend, for the truth of a day’s awakening. That out of the darkness comes light and with that the warmth of a heart that had grown cold.


  10. This post blew me away… Most spectacular. I love how the Lord puts a message in you. Praise God for using you.

    Lord, I lift my shackled soul up to YOU and seek YOUR light to free me spiritually. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  11. Once again, Elaine, “Wow!”

    You have been on my mind as I’ve been reading My Utmost for His Highest. I thought of you as I read about being poured out as a drink offering for others…and serving others past the point of exhaustion. I see how, with each post, you pour yourself out onto the page. Each word, coming from a sacred place. I know at times you feel weary from this journey, but God is using your obedience in powerful ways!


  12. Elaine, I had never seen this You Tube video — beautiful. Thanks for posting it. God’s light — no better place to be!

  13. “Not because they didn’t long to be free, but rather because they knew that they already were.”

    Wow. That is so profound! Pray for me, dear sister, that I would know the same when life feels like a prison…

  14. Elaine-the chains that sometimes try to hold us back reminded me of what I read in a devotional about the “thorns” we sometimes carry (such as our poor man Paul here). Of course it was in my Beth Moore study-she reminded us that sometimes the torn is not removed so that we keep centered on our need for Him. So too, those chains that we choose to be free from are a reminder of our need for Him in every aspect of our life.

    I have said it before but I must say it again. God has gifted you in writing His message. Thank you.

    In His Graces~Pamela

  15. Oh yes….very good Elaine!

    I’m thinking of Mandisa singing her…
    Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance!

    I love it! Bless you for dancing with the sweeties this weekend. I bet it was fun and freeing for them too.

  16. Dear Sister-I agree that you and I share the SAME HEART! I cannot beleive I am just now stumbling across your blog. Your post are profound, practical and poignant. God’s quiet hand of power is resting on your life. Like you, I was a busy mom who loved God and loved His Word. I certainly never set out to build a ministry or publish my Bible studies. I did not even know that the work I was doing to study the Word-which was prompted by wanting to know Him and wanting my children to know Him, and then developed into wanting to teach others to know Him-was actually the preparation for an even greater work than I could have ever imagined! I encourage you to stay in the Word and continue to share your insight with whoever God places in your path. I would love to get you to guest write a post for my site. Are you interested?

    God is using you as His mouthpiece in the bloggy world, and I am thinking in other places of ministry as well. I will check in with you often and I pray God’s blessings on you, dear one. Press on. May we be found faithful until He comes!!

  17. Oh what fun! If the “ancients” plan it again next year…I’ll try to book a flight out! 🙂


  18. A beautiful post. Paul and Silas singing in chains in the dark of night gives “a sacrifice of praise” a whole new meaning…oh, the freedom that is ours in Christ!

  19. Thank you, Elaine. I needed this encouragement so much today. *Sigh*
    I pray that you have a blessed day, lovely lady!
    In Christ,

  20. Elaine, I love the thought that captivity is just an illusion. How true! Gal 5:1 is clear. This is so encouraging, I am going to make this a motto.

  21. Elaine, I heard myself saying, preach Sister Elaine!

    We are free from everything that once held us in chains! Satan would love to bound our freedom spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, relationally, financially and socially but HE’S A LIAR! We are free because of Christ and that’s beautiful.

    I can’t wait to get to His feet in glory to say, free at last, free at last thank God Almighty I am free at last (Dr. King, Jr). We are free now and we can celebrate that in Jesus Name.

    Beautiful, inspiring and strong message Elaine.

    Love you sister!

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