November 11, 2016

Acts 12:14-16 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.

This is one of the most miraculous, and at the same time one of the funniest, stories in the Bible. What God did to get Peter out of prison is the stuff of fantasy. Even Peter didn’t believe it while it was happening to him! Then, we have the scene here. From our current perspective it seems downright hilarious, but I doubt very much we would have done any better than the people at the prayer meeting had we been in their place. In their defense, James the brother of John had recently been executed, and they had every reason to think Peter would be next. Even so, they were praying earnestly, just as Jesus had said, (Luke 18:1-8) even though they couldn’t imagine how God might answer their prayers. That’s something we need to emulate! We have a strong tendency to formulate scenarios in our minds and ask God to fulfill them. We aren’t God’s movie director! We are to pray earnestly, just as these believers did, but at the same time leave the whole matter in God’s hands for Him to do what He knows is best. His best for James was martyrdom!

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to this sort of thing. I know in my mind that “God’s ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts than my thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9) but I still try to tell Him what to do! This is part of the whole paradox of prayer. It makes no sense that the Creator of the universe would listen to life forms on an insignificant planet in an unremarkable solar system in a mediocre galaxy, but He does. Why is a total mystery, except that He is love itself, (1 John 4:8) and He delights to express Himself in this way. I am not to try to figure Him out, because I can’t, but I am to accept what He has revealed of Himself through the Bible and trust that He will always be true to Himself, and thus to me. I am to pray persistently and in faith, without insisting on how He is to answer.

Father, thank You for this reminder. There are several things facing us right how that we don’t know how You will resolve. Help us be faithful on every level, so that Your will may be done on Your schedule in Your way for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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