Acts 16 is not typically the text people think of when it comes to “happy chapters in the Bible” but this text, especially the last half, is loaded with examples of people getting glad.
First: The healed woman got glad, and her masters got mad…
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
This woman was possessed by a devil, but instead of gaining sympathy from her peers, she ends up being taken advantage of. People essentially kidnap her and force to work as a circus attraction, drawing money (for them, not her) and infamy. After a meeting with Paul, the Apostle heals her of her calamity by driving the demon out. You can imagine the euphoria she felt when she was finally freed from her hardship.
But while she was glad, her employers were not. They seized Paul and Silas and, after a bit of a sham of a trial, saw too it that the men of God were cast into prison. Which takes us to…
Second: The servants of God got glad despite circumstances that were bad…
And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
How many of us would have found reason to rejoice while in such horrible conditions. They were unrighteously arrested, unfairly tried and unjustly convicted. They were cast into the “inner” part of the prison, reserved for the most hardened and dangerous of prisoners, and even chained uncomfortably to wall. They had no earthly reason to rejoice…but they had all the reason in Heaven. They sang hymns, being happy to suffer for the name of Jesus. Then, at midnight God freed them with an earthquake. That’s a reason to rejoice, too, but they were already rejoicing! Which takes us to…
Third: The jailer got glad because he didn’t mind the risk; his family got glad because their sins wouldn’t be missed
And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
The jailer, being amazed by the miraculous earthquake (which kept the building standing, but somehow managed to open all the prison doors) intended to kill himself since he knew that the rulers of the city would have had him killed for letting the prisoners escape. Instead, Paul assured him that no one had fled. With his life secured the man inquired about salvation. Where did that come from? Probably from the songs Paul and Silas were singing.
As a result of their preaching, the jailer obeyed the Gospel. In so doing he freed Paul and Silas which, again, could have resulted in his death. He didn’t care because he was the recipient of life-everlasting. His family heard the Message too and, like their husband/father, they obeyed the Gospel and put their past behind them forever.
Everyone got glad…well except for Satan. Acts 16 is just an awful chapter for him!
Lesson learned: There’s always going to be someone who is unhappy to see you so happy. That’s their problem. You live your life with Christ and you will find constant reason to rejoice. The only ones who could be mad to see you glad are those who have no reason to be glad, because they lack the joy of salvation which you are blessed to have.