In Acts 12 we have access to a very interesting story.
King Herod was persecuting the church and going against what it taught. In this persecution he ordered James to be killed and Peter arrested. But what seemed like the end for Peter became the story of a great miracle…
Calling on the strength of the Father
“It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison…”Acts 12:1-4
I imagine the fear of Christians at that time. Seeing relevant leaders being forcibly and violently taken away from them because of everything they believed in.
If our faith is not firm and strengthened in God, in moments like this it can be shaken. Our minds can begin to question the Lord. We may think He is silent.
Faced with that scenario, the church entered into intercession. The bible describes the church’s prayer for Peter as “fervent“. I can imagine people praying without ceasing. Calling on the name of God and a supernatural divine intervention, for nothing else could be done by their strength but to pray and ask for the strength of the Father.
Dependence on God’s Power
And then, in verse 5, right after Peter’s arrest, the bible describes:
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
Herod had arrested Peter. From the earthly perspective, in a prison context, it would only be possible to see pain and suffering, but that was the moment for Peter and the people to exercise and put into practice everything they had learned about dependence on the Lord.
While in prison, Peter had nothing in his hands. Nothing could be done by him and his own strength. He was guarded, that was the time of dependence and waiting. That was the moment when he needed to trust God and everything that had already been promised.
God does not forget His promises. We are the ones who forget if we are not firm in our faith. What seemed to be the end of Peter’s life was part of God’s promise in his life. Trusting, he rested and waited for the Father to act.
Rest under faith
“The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.”Acts 12:6
Peter had just been arrested and was not glued to the bars of his cell begging the soldiers to release him. The text of Acts 12 says that he was “sleeping between two soldiers”. And that is the peace of God. The peace that exceeds any understanding we can have as humans. When we depend on ourselves we despair, when we depend on God we rest! Peter knew Who was taking care of him.
In moments when my strength is like nothing in the face of a certain challenge and my only way out is a divine intervention, I put myself in the place of dependence and diminish my self. And by diminishing my self, He has room to act.
Peter was sleeping, but the bible doesn’t say he was comfortable. He was just confident and resting. He could have lied about his faith so he wouldn’t go to prison, he could have sided with Herod and been sleeping in the comfort of his own home. The danger when we only look for comfortable positions is that we become less dependent on God. In extreme comfort. We mistakenly think that Jesus is no longer so necessary in our lives.
The unstoppable voice
“Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. ‘Quick, get up!’ he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, ‘Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,’ the angel told him.”Acts 12:7-8
We need to step out of our comfort zone and stand up for our faith, regardless of whether it puts us at risk.
It is necessary to take risks with God knowing that nothing stops what the Lord has called us to. If He gave the way, He will provide and help. No one shuts up the one to whom God gave a voice.
They hid David, but God knew where he was. They tried to stop Joseph, but he was called by God himself in the face of all the difficulties he faced. They arrested Peter, but God released him. They killed Jesus, but He won death itself and gave us life through it.
When you look at the situation with earthly lens, failure is imminent and obvious. It becomes impossible to see that God is using the trial to strengthen you, deliver you and bring you closer to His purposes. Maybe you might be feeling trapped. But God is keeping you and leading you to what He dreams for you. Teaching you about dependence and rest.
Nobody has the power to stop you if He was the one Who called you. Nobody can arrest you, if the Lord who is over everything is the One who keeps you!
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